Vladimir Putin defends Donald Trump, says critics trying to "undermine the legitimacy" of the president-elect

The Russian dictator blasted President Barack Obama for trying to tie Trump's "hands and feet"

Published January 17, 2017 2:40PM (EST)

 (Getty/Natalia Kolesnikova)
(Getty/Natalia Kolesnikova)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday jumped to the defense of Donald Trump, saying that President Barack Obama and the media are trying to "undermine the legitimacy" of the man he allegedly tried to get elected.

"We are witnessing an ongoing acute political struggle in the U.S., whose task is to undermine the legitimacy of the president-elect," Putin told the Russian news agency Interfax, according to Business Insider on Tuesday. He also accused the authors of the Trump dossier of being "worse than prostitutes" and argued that "the media frenzy surrounding Trump speaks of the degradation of U.S. political elites."

Putin dismissed a dossier — filled with unverified allegations claiming that Trump had been compromised by Russian intelligence — as "an obvious fake" and "nonsense." He went on to argue that Russians feel no need to "chase every American billionaire" and added, in perhaps an attempt to suck up to the president-elect, that Trump "has been with the most beautiful women in the world, so why would he need prostitutes in Moscow?"

Finally, Putin parroted Trump's claims against President Obama, saying he was trying to tie Trump's "hands and feet" by imposing new sanctions on Russia.

"Some people leave without saying goodbye, and some say goodbye without leaving," Putin said. "The Obama administration belongs to the second category."

When Obama first announced those sanctions last month, Putin refused to respond — a move that Trump praised as "smart" and one that prompted the Russian embassy in London to gloat about its "victory."

Most intriguing, Putin has claimed he is "not acquainted with Trump," which contradicts Trump's own previous statements on the matter of his relationship with the Russian autocrat.

As one Twitter observer has pointed out, Trump had earlier alleged to be acquainted with Putin:


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Elections 2016 Vladimir Putin