Putin offers Comey 'political asylum' during annual call-in show
16 June, 2017, 06:09 | Author: Ora Austin
"If [Mr. Comey] faces certain consequences after this and so on, we would be ready to offer Mr. Comey political asylum in Russia", Mr. Putin said, likening the former director to Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor now living in Russia in 2013 after leaking classified information from the spy agency.
Putin, on an apparent sarcastic note, added that if Comey "continues to be persecuted in this connection, we will be ready to provide political asylum to him", according to various news outlets.
Putin said there is a similarity between Comey and Snowden as the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director's decision to leak details of his conversations with Trump to the media had placed him in a vulnerable position and meant he had behaved more like an activist than an Federal Bureau of Investigation chief.
Snowden, a computer professional who had done contractual work for the U.S. National Security Agency, is now living under asylum in Russian Federation.
The Russian president also said the latest U.S. sanctions over alleged election meddling were efforts to "contain Russia". "But this is not any sort of underground subversive activity", Putin said.
He also criticized the USA for its involvement in other countries.
On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin held his annual live marathon Q&A session with the public, titled: "Direct Line with the president". "At any rate, if this entails some kind of prosecutions against him [Comey], we are ready to grant him asylum in Russian Federation. Again, he gave no evidence of this (Russian meddling)".
Putin said that his second grandchild was born recently, adding that he keeps them out of the spotlight so that they can have a normal upbringing.
Russian Federation has imposed counter-measures against most Western countries, blocking imports of produce and other goods, but Putin said these would be lifted in the event that sanctions are stopped.
"We know that we have many friends in America", Putin said in response to a question from an American man.
Asked about a wave of protests across Russia, Putin said he was "prepared to talk with everyone who genuinely wants to improve people's lives and solve the country's problems", but dismissed unnamed opposition leaders for "exploiting the problems instead of offering solutions".
Putin has two daughters with his ex-wife, Lyudmila.
Putin said Moscow is determined to re-engage with Washington on several pressing global issues, including nuclear non-proliferation, arms control, combatting poverty and climate change.
The Senate is considering a sanction package against Russian Federation in response to Moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential election and its aggression in other parts of the world, including Syria and Ukraine. "There is hysteria in the media and it affects the mood, but many people in Russian Federation admire the achievements of the American people, and I hope relations will normalize", he said. The views expressed in these articles are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Mint Press News editorial policy.
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