Russian President Vladimir Putin poked fun at reports that President Trump had shared classified intelligence with Russian officials during a White House meeting last week, saying if they were true, the information had not been passed on to him.
Putin, trying to hide a smile, told reporters he had already discussed the accusations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who attended the Oval Office meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“It was necessary to issue him a reprimand, a rebuke,” Putin said of Lavrov, “because he didn’t share these secrets. Not with me, not with the Russia’s intelligence services. That--that’s very bad from his side.”
Lavrov, who was in attendance at the press conference in Sochi, Russia, laughed in response.
Putin, apparently joking, also said that Russia would be willing to provide a record of the meeting to Congress. He used a Russian word that could be translated as “recording” or “transcript.” The Russian embassy in Washington told ABC News that it had taken detailed notes of the conversation and constructed a transcript from them, which it would be willing to provide.
The Russian president said the reporting on U.S.-Russian ties was being propagated by people in the United States who were either “stupid” or “dangerous and crooked.” He and other Russian officials have portrayed such stories as an internal U.S. political issue.
“We see that, in the United States, a political schizophrenia is developing,” Putin said. “I can’t explain any other way the accusations against the current president, that he gave Lavrov some kind of secrets.”
Putin, who was speaking alongside Italy’s prime minister, said he would not evaluate Trump’s actions, adding that he would leave final judgment to the American people. “Clearly that can only be done when they will let him work properly,” Putin said of Trump.