Putin: 'It would never occur to anyone' that Trump would run for president

Putin: 'It would never occur to anyone' that Trump would run for president
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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday rejected the idea that his government has compromising information on President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE, saying that there was no way Moscow could have known that the real estate mogul would one day run for the White House.

"We don't have anything on them, and there can't be anything on them," Putin said in an interview with Fox News. "I don't want to insult President Trump when I say this — and I may come as rude — but before he announced that he will run for presidency, he was of no interest for us."

"He was a rich person, but, well, there's plenty of rich persons in the United States," he added. "He was in the construction business. He organized the beauty pageants. But no, it would never occur to anyone that he would think of running for president. He never mentioned his political ambitions. It sounds like it's utter nonsense."

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Speculation has swirled for years that the Russian government could have damaging information on Trump. The alleged existence of that incriminating material — known as Kompromat in Russian — was laid out in a controversial opposition research file known as the Steele dossier compiled during the 2016 presidential race by a former British spy.

The possible Kompromat was allegedly from Trump's 2013 visit to Moscow, which came years after he first floated a presidential run.

No such material has surfaced.

Trump had for years floated the idea of a presidential run.

Trump held the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant, which he owned at the time, in Moscow, and associates of his reportedly explored possible real estate deals in the country.

Putin also suggested that before taking office, Trump and his associates could not have been considered surveillance priorities for his government. He brought up the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, which Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen had once expressed interest in attending, as an example.

"Just imagine this in the press conference — St. Petersburg Economic Forum was visited by 500 businessmen. Pretty much every one of them is a major industrial tycoon of greater scale than President Trump," Putin said. "Do you think that our Special Services actually organized surveillance on each and every of them?" 

"Well, unlike you, unlike the United States, we don't do this. We don't have enough resources. We don't have enough manpower to organize the total state of control. That's not part of our plans. And it's clear that we did nothing of that kind of against Mr. Trump."

Cohen did not end up attending the forum.