During a remarkable joint press conference Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked directly if he has any compromising information on Donald Trump. Putin responded with a number of words, but none of them was “no.”
Toward the end of the press conference following the Helsinki summit, AP reporter Jon Lemire asked Putin if he had any compromising information on President Trump or his family. Putin has long been rumored to have some sort of kompromat on Trump, including the rumored pee tape, a videotape of prostitutes urinating on a bed once slept on by President Obama, which was allegedly made at the Ritz in Moscow while Trump was in town in late 2013 attending the Miss Universe pageant.
But Putin didn’t answer the question of what, if any, information Russia has on Trump, offering instead a bizarre hypothetical about a recent economic conference in St. Petersburg. In fact, the only thing Putin denied was that he even knew Trump was in Moscow at the time, despite Trump himself once telling a Fox News that Putin “was so nice” during his visit.
Here is Putin’s response in full:
“I did hear these rumors that we allegedly collected compromising material on Mr. Trump when he was visiting Moscow. Let me tell you this, when President Trump visited Moscow back then, I didn’t even know that he was in Moscow. I treat President Trump with utmost respect. But back then, when he was a private individual, a businessman. Nobody told me that he was in Moscow. Let’s take the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, for instance. There were over 500 American businessmen. High-ranking, high-level ones. I don’t even remember the last names of each and every one of them. Do you really think that we tried to collect compromising material on each and every one of them? Well, it’s difficult to imagine and utter nonsense. Please just disregard these issues and don’t think about this anymore.”
Curiously Trump also did not deny the existence of the pee tape — just the proposition that Russia would do anything with it except release it to the masses.
“If they had it, it would have been out a long time ago,” Trump said.
Cover image: U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hand at the beginning of a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)