Putin offers political asylum to Comey...
Vladimir Putin trolled the US on Thursday, when speaking in a live call-in show with the Russian nation, the Russian president likened Comey to Edward Snowden, who was granted asylum in Russia in 2013, and scoffed at James Comey's disclosure of his conversations with U.S. President Donald Trump, saying the move has made Comey eligible for political asylum in Russia.
"It looks weird when the chief of a security agency records his conversation with the commander-in-chief and then hands it over to media via his friend," Putin was quoted by Russia's Tass. “This is strange. What is the difference then between the FBI director and Mr. Snowden? He is not a head of the special services, but a human rights activist.”
The trolling concluded when Putin said that "by the way, if he (Comey) is subject to any sort of persecution in connection with this, we will be ready to give him political asylum in Russia. And he should know about this."
Putin also said that Comey has so far presented no evidence to prove that Russia had meddled in the U.S. presidential election, saying Washington had tried to influence Russian elections for years.
"I am not familiar in detail with the testimony given by former FBI director Comey," Putin said during a question and answer session with citizens. "Again, he gave no evidence of this (Russian meddling)."
The remarks reflected Putin's growing annoyance of being the bete noir of the US media, and with the congressional and FBI investigations into links between Trump campaign officials and Russia, which have shattered Moscow's hopes for improving ties with Washington, much to the delight of the US Military-Industrial Complex and, of course, NATO. Predictably, the Russian president once again reiterrated his denial of meddling in the U.S. election, saying that Russia has openly expressed its views and hasn't engaged in any covert activities.
Continuing the combative mood, Putin then turned the tables on the US, saying it was the US which has sought to influence Russian elections by funding NGOs as part of its aspirations for global domination. "Turn a globe and point your finger anywhere, you will find American interests and interference there."
"And what about constant U.S. propaganda, constant U.S. support of America-oriented non-government organisations by giving them money directly? Isn't it an impact on our minds? Isn't it an attempt to influence how we should behave during election campaigns? This continues year after year," he said.
He added that many heads of state around the world had told him of similar U.S. meddling in their internal affairs. But they would not voice their concerns openly, fearing to "spoil relations" with Washington. As for Russia, "we have an opinion of our own, we express it openly. But this is not any sort of underground subversive activity", Putin said.