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Putin tells Megyn Kelly: Claims of Russian interference are like anti-Semitic conspiracy theories

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks Friday during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg. Putin likened allegations that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election to “anti-Semitism.” (Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday likened allegations that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

During a panel discussion moderated by NBC News’ Megyn Kelly at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin suggested that former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her allies were using allegations of Russian meddling to excuse her loss.

Speaking through a translator, Putin said that Clinton was merely trying to “shirk responsibility” for the election’s outcome.

“The Trump team has turned [out] to be more efficient during the electoral campaign,” Putin said, adding that he sometimes thinks Trump “overkills,” but “it turns out he was right.”

“They voted for him and the other team made a mistake… They don’t want to say that they were not wise enough,” Putin said.

Putin said it’s “easier” to say the Russians interfered.

“It’s like anti-Semitism, the Jews are to blame!” Putin said. “You’re an idiot, because the Jews are to blame, right? And you know what such moods lead to … nothing good.”

American intelligence officials have said that Russia did seek to influence last year’s election.

Later in the panel, Putin disputed another finding of American intelligence officials, claiming that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not responsible for a chemical weapons attack on a Syrian town earlier this year.

The Trump administration said Assad’s government was responsible for the chemical attack that left dozens dead. Trump ordered airstrikes on a Syrian airbase in response.

One last thing…
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