White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders made the allegation on Thursday after President Vladimir Putin announced an array of new nuclear weapons, saying they could hit nearly any point in the world and evade a US -built missile shield.
Russian Federation has been widely accused of using cyberattacks as one of several tools to sow discord and interfere in elections in the West, including the 2016 USA presidential election. It was Kelly's second interview with the Russian leader.
When Kelly pressed him about the different facets of Russia's meddling and the recent indictment of over a dozen Russian nationals and three Russian entities, Putin said the request had to move through "official channels" and not through the press or "yelling and hollering" in Congress. "Now it's they who have to catch up and bear all due consequences, first of all for the purses of their taxpayers", the source said.
Meanwhile, Putin's assertion that the individuals behind the DNC hack and social media influence operation "do not represent the Russian state" or the "Russian authorities" speaks to another tactic the Kremlin often employs.
On Thursday, in his speech to the Federal Assembly Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled the most advanced systems of strategic weapons, developed in response to Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) and practical deployment of missile shield elements both inside the USA and outside its borders.
While U.S. missile defenses are unlikely ever to be enough to counter a Russian attack, the military and the defense industry have convinced Putin "that this threat does exist and you need to throw all efforts and resources on eliminating it", said Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat and lawmaker who's now a foreign policy analyst. He says Moscow will "be prepared to look at them and talk about it".
"Never. Never", Putin said. "One-hundred percent you do, and people who are well-educated, who must understand that we, Russia, can not prosecute anyone if they have not violated Russian law".
Russia's constitution forbids the extradition of Russian citizens in most cases, and the US and Russia do not have an extradition agreement.
When Kelly reminded Putin about Mueller's indictment, he said the request "has to go through official channels, not through the press or yelling and hollering in the United States Congress". The organization he joined on Friday is his election support group.