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Putin Offers Political Asylum To James Comey, Citing Potential Prosecution In US

16 June 2017

Russian state-run media outlet TASS reported that Putin said that, if Comey "continues to be persecuted in this connection, we will be ready to provide political asylum to him, he should know about that".

Putin compared Comey to Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked government secrets to the media.

"[Comey] suddenly said he recorded a conversation with Trump, and then handed the tape over to the media, which is unusual".

Putin also once again denied any Russian interference in America's 2016 election, despite Comey - not to mention multiple USA intelligence agencies - saying there is zero doubt about Kremlin meddling.

According to Russian state media outlet TASS, Putin discussed tensions between President Donald Trump and Comey, who suggested he was sacked due to his role in a Russian election meddling probe, during a Thursday television appearance. "We have our opinion, we say it openly, but it's not some kind of underground sabotage activity", Putin said. Like Snowden, Putin mockingly noted that Comey could find a political asylum home in Russian Federation.

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The president earlier talked of having grandchildren to film director Oliver Stone in a documentary released this month in the United States but not yet shown in Russian Federation.

'Well, thank God, at least that, it's good enough, ' Putin said. "Again, he gave no evidence of this (Russian interference)".

In his annual call-in with the public and media in and outside Russian Federation on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin highlighted the national economy, the Moscow-Washington relations and regional conflicts involving Russian Federation, among others. He said he wants to keep them out of the spotlight so they can grow up "normally".

"What is the difference then between the Federal Bureau of Investigation director and Mr. Snowden?"

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In comments aimed at a domestic audience, Putin insisted the latest United States sanctions over alleged election meddling are efforts to "contain Russia". "Those who offer solution deserve undivided attention and they are entitled to dialogue with the authorities", he said.

Putin also noted that Moscow hopes that the US could play a "constructive role" in helping settle the Ukrainian crisis.

Most of the questions during the tightly choreographed show were about low salaries, decrepit housing, failing healthcare and other social problems.

Putin jovially countered the question by replying: "Valery, I wanted to hear that from you, you have very cunningly put the ball in my court", to laughter from the audience.

"Little attention is paid to the development of children's and youth soccer", Putin said during his annual call-in show broadcast on state television.

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