Russian President Vladimir Putin told NBC News’ Megan Kelly that he had barely spoken to former General Michael Flynn at the now-infamous Russia Today dinner in Moscow in 2015 where they sat at the same table.
“You and I, you and I personally, have a much closer relationship than I had with Mr. Flynn,” Putin told Kelly, in an interview that is set to air on Sunday evening as part of NBC News’ Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly.”You and I met yesterday evening. You and I have been working together all day today. And now we’re meeting again,” he told her.
Putin added that he had barely spoken to Flynn, and was only made aware of who he was after leaving the event:
When I came to the event for our company, Russia Today, and sat down at the table, next to me there was a gentleman sitting on one side … I made my speech. Then we talked about some other stuff. And I got up and left. And then afterwards I was told, ‘You know there was an American gentleman. He was involved in some things. He used to be in the security services’ … that’s it. I didn’t even really talk to him… That’s the extent of my acquaintance with Mr. Flynn.
Flynn’s alleged ties to Russia have come under close scrutiny as part of an investigation into alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign. Flynn had served for several weeks as President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser before resigning when it emerged that he had spoken with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period, and that the conversation included a discussion about new sanctions on Russia. Flynn had told Vice President Mike Pence that he had not discussed sanctions, which later turned out to be untrue.
In addition, Flynn had failed to disclose payment for his appearance at the Russia Today dinner when he applied to renew his security clearance in 2016, under the previous administration.
However, there is not yet much more to substantiate allegations of links between Flynn and the Russian government. In addition, Flynn’s name, and the content of his conversation with Kislyak, were leaked to the Washington Post in violation of federal laws.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.