Russian President Vladimir Putin (Credit: Getty/Alexey Nikolsky)
Denying any involvement with the 2016 U.S. election, Russian President Vladimir Putin has come under fire after suggesting any alleged meddling could have been carried out by Russian Jews.
Putin claimed election interference could have come from anyone — even from people living inside Russia whom he seemed to suggest weren’t true Russians.
“Maybe they’re not even Russians,” he told NBC’s Megyn Kelly, in an interview that aired Saturday. “Maybe they’re Ukrainian, Tatars, Jews — just with Russian citizenship.”
He added, “Maybe they have dual citizenship or a Green Card; maybe the U.S. paid them for this. How can you know that? I do not know either.”
The comment was immediately seen as an anti-Semitic remark by many, such as Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who believed that Putin suggested Russian Jews were not actually Russian. Blumenthal called out President Donald Trump directly, for not having issued a response that condemned Putin’s remarks.
Repulsive Putin remark deserves to be denounced, soundly and promptly, by world leaders. Why is Trump silent? Intolerance is intolerable. https://t.co/ZxQHvIWs5w
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) March 10, 2018
“President Putin bizarrely has resorted to the blame game by pointing the finger at Jews and other minorities in his country,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), said in a statement. The group is a Jewish non-governmental organization that fights “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,” a statement on the ADL’s website said. “It is deeply disturbing to see the Russian president giving new life to classic anti-Semitic stereotypes that have plagued his country for hundreds of years, with a comment that sounds as if it was ripped from the pages of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’”
There has so far been no statement about any comments from the White House or from President Trump.
Putin went on to suggest other countries could have also played a role in the U.S. election, such as France, Germany and “Asia.” He denied any responsibility, any role and any wrongdoing.
Kelly asked Putin what left him satisfied about his claims that Russia was not involved.
“I know that they do not represent the Russian state or the Russian government. And I have no idea what they did and what they were guided by,” Putin said. “Even if they did something, then our American colleagues should not just say something in interviews with the media but give us specific data, with proof. We are ready to consider it and talk about it. ”
When Kelly asked if he would then extradite the 13 Russians indicted by a grand jury as a result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Putin rejected the notion.
“Never. Just like the United States, Russia does not extradite its citizens anywhere,” he explained. “Have you ever extradited any of your citizens? This is my first point.”
He added, “Second, I do not believe anything illegal was committed.”
So why did no one in the White House denounce Putin’s anti-Semitic slur? That’s a very good question, and it wasn’t one that went unasked.
Putin blames “the Jews” for Russia’s election interference in the US. Why do I feel like we’ve been here before? And where is the condemnation from Trump? https://t.co/3oCn1pydbK
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) March 10, 2018
In the last week we’ve seen Farrakahn on the Far Left rant about “Satanic Jews” and Putin on the Far Right suggest Jews are responsible for meddling in the US election.
There’s a reason anti-Semitic hate crimes are up 57% year over year, and we need to nip it in the bud. Now.
— Nathan H. Rubin (@NathanHRubin) March 10, 2018
— David Firestone (@fstonenyc) March 10, 2018
Donald Trump called his Jewish chief economic adviser a "globalist".
Vladimir Putin blamed Jews for what was actually his interference in our election.
Antisemitism and naziism are on the rise, promoted by the highest-profile leaders in the world.
Everyone should be scared.
— Pé Resists (@4everNeverTrump) March 11, 2018
Putin makes it clear that he considers only ethnically Russian people to be "the Russians" — excluding Jews, Ukrainians, Tatars et al.
This is a disturbing distinction.https://t.co/hbYTxyNHcg
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) March 10, 2018
Every Jewish supporter of Donald Trump should be pressing the WH to see if the President agrees with his friend Putin on this statement. And every Jewish person resisting Trump just got another reason to fight even harder. https://t.co/7FZTXCzxeH
— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) March 10, 2018
This is horrible. Distressing anti-Semitism. Vladimir Putin: Maybe 'Jews with Russian citizenship' meddled in U.S. elections https://t.co/6mDFZfj1FT
— Charles Ornstein (@charlesornstein) March 11, 2018
Putin claims that "maybe Jews with Russian citizenship" attacked our election. Will Trump condemn Putin's anti-semitism? If he does not, that is yet another reason for Americans to condemn him. https://t.co/5P48lkmsJ1
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) March 10, 2018
ok, now its personal https://t.co/RfHWOCL9D3
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) March 11, 2018