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 PutinTrump considers a cameo role in Saudi-Russia oil price drama Washington fiddles in the Balkans while COVID flames engulf the world Overnight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal 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 TrumpOvernight Health Care: US hits 10,000 coronavirus deaths | Trump touts 'friendly' talk with Biden on response | Trump dismisses report on hospital shortages as 'just wrong' | Cuomo sees possible signs of curve flattening in NY We need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Barr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report MORE's dealings with Ukraine. During a July 25 phone call, Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Health Care: US hits 10,000 coronavirus deaths | Trump touts 'friendly' talk with Biden on response | Trump dismisses report on hospital shortages as 'just wrong' | Cuomo sees possible signs of curve flattening in NY We need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen 16 things to know today about coronavirus 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 ClintonWe need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Poll shows Biden with 6-point edge on Trump in Florida Does Joe Biden really want to be president? 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 NunesCalifornia governor responds to Nunes on canceling school: 'We'll continue to listen to the experts' Nunes claims it would be 'way overkill' to cancel school year in California due to coronavirus Trump steps up intensity in battle with media 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.