Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on Tuesday that accusations of Russia meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election were “simply rumors,” despite U.S. intelligence officials saying they have definitive evidence that links Moscow to the Democratic Party email hacks.
Putin made the comment during a tense news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was visiting Russia for the first time in two years.
The Russian president added that the claim was being used as part of the political fight in Washington.
“We never interfere in the political life and the political processes of other countries and we don’t want anybody interfering in our political life and foreign policy processes,” Putin said.
U.S. intelligence agencies claim Russia hacked email accountswith the aim of benefiting Donald Trump’s campaign and harming his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
On Tuesday, the former Democratic presidential nominee also blamed part of her loss on Russia’s role in hacking into her campaign’s internal emails and subsequently coordinating their release on WikiLeaks.
“He [Putin] certainly interfered in our election,” Clinton said during the Women for Women International’s annual luncheon in New York.
“And it’s clear he interfered to hurt me and help his opponent.”
Merkel said Germany would take “decisive measures” if it believed there was foreign meddling in its upcoming election.
Relations between Germany and Russia remain strained, mostly over the unresolved conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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