Russian President Vladimir Putin pushed back against claims made in an explosive dossier that Russia worked with President-elect Donald Trump during the presidential election to undermine Hillary Clinton.
“We are witnessing an ongoing acute political struggle in the US, whose task is to undermine the legitimacy of the president-elect,” Putin said, according to Russian news agency Interfax.
He added that the people behind the Trump dossier are “worse than prostitutes.”
“The media frenzy surrounding Trump speaks of the degradation of US political elites,” Putin said.
The dossier was part of an opposition-research project conducted by a former British spy, Christopher Steele, at the behest of anti-Trump Republicans and, later, Democrats. Steele was the former head of the Russia desk in Moscow for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6. The memos he wrote made their way to US intelligence officials sometime last year.
A summary of his findings, collected from the network of Russian intelligence sources he had cultivated, was presented to Trump, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and the country’s top lawmakers on intelligence matters earlier this month as part of a classified briefing about Russia’s intervention in the US presidential election.
Putin mocked the claims contained in the dossier, saying his intelligence services “don’t chase every American billionaire.”
He also slammed the new sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration, claiming that attempts were being made to tie Trump’s “hands and feet” while he was performing his election campaign promises to try and improve relations with Russia.
“Some people leave without saying goodbye, and some say goodbye without leaving,” Putin said. “The Obama administration belongs to the second category.”
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