Russian President Vladimir Putin has told NBC News that he "couldn't care less" if Russian citizens tried to interfere in the 2016 American presidential election because, he claims, they were not connected to the Kremlin.
In an exclusive and at-times combative interview with NBC's Megyn Kelly, Putin again denied the charge by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November 2016 vote that put Donald Trump in the White House.
"Why have you decided the Russian authorities, myself included, gave anybody permission to do this?" asked Putin, who will probably be returned as president in the March 18 elections.
Putin was unmoved by an indictment filed by special counsel Robert Mueller last month that accused 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies of interfering in the election — including supporting Trump's campaign and "disparaging" Hillary Clinton's.