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Vladimir Smirnov / AP

Vladimir Putin spoke with Megyn Kelly during a panel at St. Petersburg's Economic Forum on Friday. Kelly grilled him on questions about alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election, NATO, and Syria, and Putin didn't shy away:

  • On reports of Russia meddling in U.S. election: "We should stop this idle prattle, which is harmful," said Putin. "There are no facts. Only suggestions and allegations." He later made the analogy that blaming Moscow for the outcome of the U.S. election is "like anti-semitism. [It's like saying] the Jews are to blame!"
  • On NATO's defense spending: "What is the point of NATO increasing defense spending if they aren't planning to attack anyone?" said Putin. When asked whether he believed that squabbles around NATO help Russia, he stated that they do if they help dismantle the organization.
  • On Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris deal: Putin defended Trump's decision, stating, "I wouldn't judge President Trump," and noted his support on the move to renegotiate a better deal. As for the media backlash? "It seems to me no one should be creating noise about it." He added that the exit process won't take full effect until 2020 anyway, so "don't worry, be happy."
  • On Russian ambassador to the U.S. meeting with several U.S. officials: "So our ambassador met someone. So what? It's his job," said Putin.
  • On alleged meetings between Trump aides and Moscow: "I had never known ... about anyone meeting anyone," said Putin. "There were no agreements whatsoever. ... This hysteria seems like it won't stop."
  • Does Putin think Syrian President Assad is evil? "You shouldn't be labeling people," said Putin. He also insisted that "there's no evidence to support" the claims that Assad used chemical weapons. Putin suggested that the reports were all staged, and that sarin gas "could have been used by someone in order to accuse President Assad."

Go deeper

U.S. grants temporary protected status to thousands of Venezuelans

Venezuelan citizens participate in the vote for the popular consultation in December 2020, as part of a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Doral, Florida. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP

Venezuelans living in the United States will be eligible to receive temporary protected status for 18 months, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled to the U.S. amid economic, political and social turmoil back home. Former President Trump, on his last full day in office, granted some protections to Venezuelans through the U.S. Deferred Enforced Departure program, but advocates and lawmakers said the move didn't go far enough.

"She-cession" threatens economic recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Decades of the slow economic progress women made catching up to men evaporated in just one year.

Why it matters: As quickly as those gains were erased, it could take much, much longer for them to return — a warning Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued today.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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