Putin denies allegations of Kremlin-directed Russian meddling in USA election

ALL SMILES Russian President Vladimir Putin greets NBC News’ Megyn Kelly prior to her interview with him in Moscow. Putin said alleged Russian inteference in the U.S. election wasn’t tied to his government

America's leading intelligence agencies concluded past year that Putin himself had directed a broad intelligence effort to influence the United States election to undermine Clinton's campaign and boost Trump's chances, but Trump has repeatedly denied colluding with Moscow.

Trump has also hinted that he gives Putin the benefit of the doubt when he denies that Moscow interfered.

"Maybe they are not even Russians, but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews, but with Russian citizenship, which should also be checked", he said.

"It's not our goal to interfere", Putin added.

The Russian leader revealed to the world the true state of his country's advanced research into hypersonic and drone weaponry that he said was in response to the U.S. pulling out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, a move that President Putin decried as jeopardizing the strategic parity between the world's two most powerful nuclear-armed states.

"I have other means of expressing my point of view or making decisions".

Putin said Moscow could not prosecute anyone for the alleged meddling because no evidence has been presented showing that Russian law has been violated.

"I do not care at all, because they do not represent the government", he said, according to the interview transcript posted Saturday by the Kremlin.

"But the USA refuses to work like this and instead throws 13 Russians to the media", he said, going on to list the possible ethnicities that would make the suspects "not even Russian".

USA intelligence agencies and many Western analysts have said that Russian interference came at the orders of the Kremlin.

"Could anyone really believe that Russian Federation, thousands of miles away.influenced the outcome of the election?"

"It's not our goal to interfere".

Putin suggested in the interview that the reason Trump has seemed deferential to him is he knew upon taking office that he needed to develop a "cooperative relationship" with Russian Federation and thus he needed to treat his counterpart with respect.

Trump himself has repeatedly shied away from condemning Russian Federation over the alleged meddling.

"Well, we will see. You made a decision, at the level of parliament, at the level of Congress and put Russian Federation on your list of enemies", he said.

"Are we the ones who imposed sanctions on the United States?" he asked. "The U.S. imposed sanctions on us".

"Listen, let's sit down calmly, talk and figure things out", he said.