Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday forcefully denied the Obama administration’s claim that government-backed hackers from his country are attempting to interfere with the US presidential election. But his statement will likely be overshadowed by his foreign minister’s decision to use a familiar vulgarity to describe the people involved in the US presidential campaigns.
In a sit-down interview with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour brought up the firestorm that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump ignited last week when a videotape was released that showed him bragging about being able to sexually assault women freely because he was a “star.” One of the things Trump said he was able to do was to “grab” women “by the pussy.”
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Amanpour drew the connection between the word Trump used and a controversial band/performance art group in Russia that goes by the name Pussy Riot. The members of the group, all sharply critical of Putin, have been beaten and jailed for their activities.
“What do you think of Donald Trump’s ‘Pussy Riot’ moment?” Amanpour asked.
Lavrov, after reminding Amanpour that English is not his native tongue, delivered a response that left the veteran correspondent near speechless with laughter.
“There are so many pussies around your presidential campaign on both sides that I prefer not to comment,” Lavrov said.
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Lavrov on Trump tapes: “so many pussies around your pres. campaign on both sides that I prefer not to comment.” https://t.co/3KtYnHs2PU — Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) October 12, 2016
That the chief diplomat of the Russian Federation chose to use that language left Amanpour gaping incredulously toward her crew before saying, “Oh my goodness. I wasn’t expecting that.”
Lavrov’s boss, speaking at an investment forum hosted by a Russian Bank, was a bit more decorous in addressing the claim made by the Obama Administration last week that his government has been behind multiple cyber-attacks aimed at mainly Democratic political organizations.
In response to a question from a CNBC reporter, Putin, through an interpreter, decried the “hysteria” around the accusation and said, “There was nothing in the interest of Russia there.”
"One cannot exploit Russia to win the Presidential campaign," he added.