Putin: 'Thank God' election interference accusations have stopped amid US 'political battles'

Putin: 'Thank God' election interference accusations have stopped amid US 'political battles'
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Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinSenate confirms Trump's Russia ambassador Trump is right to shake up NATO Budowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? MORE said Wednesday that he was thankful "internal political battles" in the United States were putting an end to accusations that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election. 

"We see what is going on there in the U.S. now," Putin said while speaking during an economic forum in the Russian capital, according to an English translation of his comments. "Thank God nobody is accusing us anymore of interfering in the U.S. elections. Now they’re accusing Ukraine."

Putin's comments appeared to reference allegations at the center of the House impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed MORE's dealings with Ukraine. During a July 25 phone call, Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Media organization fights Trump administration over Ukraine documents FOIA Buttigieg releases list of campaign bundlers MORE, who is running for president, and a conspiracy theory related to the 2016 election. 

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Trump called on the Ukrainian leader to look into matters related to CrowdStrike, a U.S.-based internet security company that initially examined the breach of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers in 2016. The request was an apparent reference to a conspiracy theory that casts doubt on the assessment that Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC. 

There is no evidence to suggest that Ukraine was involved in any 2016 election interference. The U.S. intelligence community has also concluded that Russia sought to interfere in the election to harm Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMore than 200,000 Wisconsin voters will be removed from the rolls Trump is threatening to boycott the debates — here's how to make sure he shows up Trey Gowdy returns to Fox News as contributor MORE's candidacy and help Trump. 

Trump's promotion of the theory has gained attention amid the House impeachment inquiry, with some Republicans defending the president's motives. 

“Once you understand that Ukrainian officials were cooperating directly with President Trump's political opponents to undermine his candidacy, it's easy to understand why the president would want to learn the full truth about these operations and why he would be skeptical of Ukraine," Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesDemocrats launch bilingual ad campaign off drug pricing bill Koch campaign touts bipartisan group behind ag labor immigration bill Hillicon Valley: Apple, Facebook defend encryption during Senate grilling | Tech legal shield makes it into trade deal | Impeachment controversy over phone records heats up | TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings MORE (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said during the fifth day of public impeachment hearings

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Nunes's comments came after Fiona Hill, a former top Russia analyst for the White House, strongly disputed the narrative that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. 

“Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country, and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did,” Hill said in her opening statement Thursday. 

“This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves," she continued.

Hill isn't the first former administration official to dismiss the theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election; Tom Bossert, a former White House homeland security adviser, said in late September that the allegation was a "completely debunked" conspiracy theory.

He added that he communicated that to Trump during his time working in the administration.