Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow had “nothing to do” with President Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey amid the bureau’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
In an impromptu interview with a CBS News reporter in a tunnel adjacent to a hockey rink on Wednesday, Putin said the move would not affect US-Russia relations.
“There will be no effect,” Putin, dressed in his hockey gear and holding a stick, said through a translator. “Your question looks very funny for me. Don’t be angry with me. We have nothing to do with that.”
Comey’s dismissal sent shock waves across Washington, with many wondering if it was somehow connected to the Russia investigation, which the FBI director has said was also looking at Trump campaign associates’ ties to the Kremlin.
In the days leading up to his firing, Comey reportedly asked the Justice Department for more resources for the probe.
In firing Comey, Trump was “acting in accordance with his law and his Constitution,” Putin said.
The comments came as Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for a meeting at the White House.
Later Trump was asked by a reporter if the ousting of Comey affected that meeting.
“Not at all,” Trump replied.
The White House and Russian Embassy later tweeted still images from their meeting, which was closed to the press.
During a photo opportunity with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday, Lavrov laughed when he was asked about Comey’s dismissal.
“Was he fired? You’re kidding,” Lavrov said.