Vladmir Putin is vehemently dismissing accusations the Russians hacked the Democratic Party and interfered with the U.S. presidential election.
In a lengthy criticism of Democrats, Russia’s president advised Hillary Clinton’s supporters to accept their failure and stop scapegoating “external factors” like Russia for their defeat.
“They are losing on all fronts and looking elsewhere for things to blame,” he said during his annual end-of-year press conference Friday. “In my view this, how shall I say it, degrades their own dignity. You need to learn how to lose gracefully.”
“The Democratic Party lost not only the presidential elections, but elections in the Senate and Congress,” he said. “Did we do that, too?”
Putin accused Democrats of “shamelessly” abusing their status as the ruling party to try to influence public opinion.
“(We are talking about) a party which has clearly forgotten the original meaning of its own name,” he said. “Outstanding figures in American history from the ranks of the Democratic Party would likely be turning in their graves. Roosevelt certainly would be.”
Clinton told her top donors at a holiday party last week that Russia was responsible for Trump’s victory. She claimed Putin damaged her candidacy by hacking the Democratic National Committee in light of his longtime vendetta against her.
Putin said Democrats should have apologized to American voters over the information revealed by hackers who leaked Democratic National Committee e-mails.
“It’s not important who did the hacking,” he said. “It’s important that the information that was revealed was true. That is important,”
During the press conference, which reportedly went on for four hours, Putin also reiterated his interest in improving relations with the United States after Trump’s inauguration.
“Trump understood the mood of the people and kept going until the end, when nobody believed in him,” Putin said, smiling. “Except for you and me.”
Putin said Russia hopes to develop “businesslike and constructive relations that would benefit both Russia and the United States” and quoted a recent poll that claims one-third of Republicans view him favorably.
“It means that a significant part of the American people have the same perception about how the world should be developing,” he said. “It is good that people support us in this, in terms of traditional values.”
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