clear
Thursday January 18th, 2018 8:44PM

Russia dismisses Democratic US Senate report as unfounded

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin on Thursday dismissed a new report by U.S. Senate Democrats describing Russian interference in the U.S. and throughout Europe as unfounded and President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of "aggressive" overreaction. Some European politicians said they are mindful of Moscow's meddling.

The 200-page report commissioned by Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is the first from Congress to detail alleged Russian efforts to undermine democracies since the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Commenting on the report, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that "the accusations of alleged meddling leveled against our country are absolutely unfounded."

Speaking in a conference call Thursday with reporters, Peskov said that "such paranoid concerns not only hurt bilateral relations, but the U.S. itself."

"When it grows into an obsession, it doesn't create comfortable conditions for normal social development and life," he said.

Speaking at a televised meeting with Russian newspaper editors, Putin pointed at what he described as U.S. meddling in other countries' affairs, adding that "if they poke their nose everywhere they must be able to respond to certain challenges they provoke themselves."

"But please don't interpret it like a recognition of our meddling, we haven't meddled," he added. "I want to underline again — it's sheer nonsense. There has been no collusion, no interference on our part."

"No one likes interference in their internal political issues and affairs; our American friends especially do not like it," Putin said. "We see their reaction to unreliable information about our intervention, how sharp it is, I would even say how aggressive it is."

The Russian leader didn't specifically mention the Cardin report.

No Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee signed on to Cardin's inquiry, which directly blamed Putin for a "relentless assault to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Europe and the United States."

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the U.S. election to help Donald Trump, a Republican, defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. The congressional and the FBI investigations into the Russian meddling have haunted Trump, thwarting Russia's hopes for better ties with the U.S. under his administration.

Putin said that Russia remains willing to improve ties with the U.S., but added that the U.S. political infighting makes it difficult.

"The domestic political situation in the U.S. isn't calming down," he said. "They are playing the Russian card in the U.S. politics, and they are threatening the incumbent president with impeachment, using the alleged Russian interference as an argument."

Russia also has rejected allegations of interfering with European elections.

Asked about claims of Russian interference in Italy's election later this year, Putin strongly rejected the allegations as a "provocation" from outside powers, arguing that Moscow has "very good relations with various political forces" in the country.

"It doesn't even occur to us to meddle into any elections, including Italy," Putin said. "No matter what force comes to power in Italy, there is a national consensus there for the development of relations with Russia. Why would we do it?"

The report by Senate Democrats didn't raise eyebrows in European capitals, where purported cases of Russian meddling are already widely known or reported.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Wednesday that "attempts at disinformation in the digital domain," some of which "originate from Russian sources" have worried Berlin.

"It's a factor that has changed digital communications in recent years, not just in Germany but in many European countries and certainly also in the United States," he told reporters in Berlin. "We are certainly looking at this a lot more closely than we were two or three years ago, because the phenomenon has increased. And we are talking about this and cooperating with European partners."

The French government's digital affairs chief, Mounir Mahjoubi, vaunted a new plan by President Emmanuel Macron to outlaw fake news during election campaigns in response to attempts at political manipulation.

Asked whether the U.S. is doing enough to combat it, Mahjoubi said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that "the U.S. and Facebook have already joined the worldwide community talking about this subject, and what happened during the American election and the French election and other European elections."

"This is a very important debate ... in the U.S., in France and Europe," he said.

Mahjoubi didn't mention specific measures against Russia, but Macron earlier has accused Russian state-funded RT television and Sputnik news agency of propagating lies about him during last year's presidential campaign. Sputnik notably reported rumors that Macron was having a gay affair, which Macron denied.

France was praised in Cardin's report for concerted government efforts to prevent hacking and other outside intervention in the 2017 French presidential campaign.

Commenting on the report from Denmark, Jens Worning Soerensen, Denmark's former consul general in St. Petersburg and director of the Policy Group think tank, said that "we all know what is happening, but no one knows right now how it is orchestrated and how coordinated it is."

Soerensen warned that the insufficient U.S. support for European efforts to counter the Russian meddling will mean "insecurity will spread," adding there is a fear that "that there will be attempts to influence elections."

"It is hard to assess what the consequences will be, but we have seen how Russia has financed pro-Moscow groups, for instance right-wing groups," he said.

___

Angela Charlton reported from Paris. Jim Heintz in Moscow, Frank Jordans in Berlin, and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP World News, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Missouri governor admits having affair but denies blackmail
Missouri governor admits he had an affair but insists he did not blackmail woman
1:25PM ( 5 minutes ago )
California mudslides happened as cellphone alerts went out
Officials first sent widespread cell phone alerts warning of the imminent mudslides as massive streams of debris were already flowing through a Southern California neighborhood
1:21PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Groups record voting rights abuses against Native Americans
Native Americans are documenting voting rights abuses across the country in an effort to improve access to the polls
1:13PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Majority of Egypt's lawmakers want president to run again
More than 500 of Egypt's 596 lawmakers have signed "recommendations" for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to run for a second, four-year term in this year's elections
12:58PM ( 31 minutes ago )
House passes spy program after confusing Trump tweets
House votes to reauthorize a key foreign intelligence collection program after a confusing morning of Trump tweets
12:52PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Missouri governor: I had an affair but did not blackmail her
Missouri governor says he had an affair but insists he did not blackmail woman
12:31PM ( 59 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Lawmakers see boost for immigration deal after Trump remarks
Congress' immigration negotiators dig in, hoping to take advantage of a window of opportunity opened by President Donald Trump
8:34AM ( 4 hours ago )
Catalan separatists argue in court for their release
Two recently-elected pro-Catalan independence regional lawmakers and another separatist activist are to appear before a Supreme Court judge to appeal their jailing for events related to Catalonia's push for secession
8:28AM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Jailed activist: Catalan vote lacked validity
Lawyers for a jailed activist of the Catalan independence movement say he has admitted that the region's Oct. 1 referendum on whether to split from Spain lacked legal validity.
7:55AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Trump group says memo should have kept email from prosecutor
A group representing President Donald Trump's transition team says a memo in the hands of the General Services Administration should have stopped the agency from turning over emails to the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the election
10:58AM ( 2 hours ago )
Zeman favorite to win 2nd term in Czech presidential vote
The Czech Republic's controversy-courting anti-migrant president is seeking another five-year term in office in a presidential vote with eight challengers hopeful to replace him in the largely ceremonial post
5:58AM ( 7 hours ago )
Gruff Alaska lawmaker now in charge of civility in US House
A gruff, no-nonsense Alaska lawmaker who once told a female colleague she didn't know what she was talking about is now in charge of ensuring civility in the U.S. House
2:33AM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Elections
Catalan separatists agree deal to re-elect Puigdemont
Catalonia's main separatist parties say they have agreed to re-elect fugitive Carles Puigdemont as president of the region later this month
5:31AM ( 1 day ago )
Politically important Florida gets a pass on drilling plan
The Trump administration's plan to open up U.S. coastline for offshore drilling is making room for an exception _ the state of Florida
12:47AM ( 1 day ago )
Arpaio's decision to run shakes up Senate race in Arizona
Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's announcement that he'll run for the Senate seat being vacated by fellow Republican Jeff Flake potentially pits two conservative, pro-Donald Trump candidates against each other
11:54PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
Queen's bra-fitter says book cost company royal warrant
The luxury bra maker that supplied lingerie to Queen Elizabeth II lost its royal warrant after a book described the atmosphere at Buckingham Palace
1:00PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Ecuador grants nationality to WikiLeaks founder
Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living in asylum at the nation's embassy in London for more than five years
12:35PM ( 55 minutes ago )
Macedonia sees hope for end to name dispute with Greece
Macedonia's deputy prime minister expressed optimism on Thursday over renewed efforts to resolve a decades-long dispute with neighboring Greece over the Balkan country's name that has kept it out of NATO
12:34PM ( 55 minutes ago )
AP World News
APNewsBreak: Cordray, Sutton to merge Ohio governor bids
Former federal consumer watchdog Richard Cordray is joining forces with former congresswoman and Obama-era official Betty Sutton in the Ohio governor's race as Democrats position to win back the key battleground state in November
4:32PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: P&G veteran to be Mary Taylor's running mate
Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor is tapping a veteran Procter & Gamble Co. executive as her running mate in her bid for the governorship
4:06PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Gayle King downplays chance of Winfrey running
Oprah Winfrey's best friend, Gayle King, is downplaying any suggestion that Winfrey could run for president
10:15AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Missouri governor admits having affair but denies blackmail
Missouri governor admits he had an affair but insists he did not blackmail woman
1:25PM ( 5 minutes ago )
California mudslides happened as cellphone alerts went out
Officials first sent widespread cell phone alerts warning of the imminent mudslides as massive streams of debris were already flowing through a Southern California neighborhood
1:21PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Groups record voting rights abuses against Native Americans
Native Americans are documenting voting rights abuses across the country in an effort to improve access to the polls
1:13PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Jailed Catalan separatists pledge to eschew unilateral moves
Prominent backers of Catalonia's independence push promise to oppose further unilateral moves to secede Spain
1:02PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Queen's bra-fitter says book cost company royal warrant
The luxury bra maker that supplied lingerie to Queen Elizabeth II lost its royal warrant after a book described the atmosphere at Buckingham Palace
1:00PM ( 30 minutes ago )