Russian President Vladimir Putin joked on Thursday that if former FBI director James Comey feels persecuted because of his falling-out with U.S. President Donald Trump, Russia is ready to grant him asylum. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT – SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
Russian President Vladimir Putin joked on Thursday that if former FBI director James Comey suffers persecution because of his falling-out with U.S. President Donald Trump, Russia is ready to grant him asylum.
The offer, made with Putin’s trademark sardonic humor, came as the Russian president poured scorn on Comey for his role in a row in Washington over alleged Russian meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election.
At a congressional hearing this month, Comey said Trump asked him to drop an investigation into contacts between Trump associates and Russian officials, while the U.S. president has accused Comey of not telling the truth.
Asked about Comey at a question-and-answer session with Russian voters, Putin said it was “strange” that, while still FBI director, Comey had passed the contents of a conversation he had with Trump to the media via a friend.
“What is the difference then between the FBI director and Mr. Snowden?” Putin said, referring to former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who was granted asylum in Russia in 2013 after leaking classified information about U.S. spy operations.
“In this case, he (Comey) is not the head of a special service but a human rights activist who defends a certain position,” Putin said.
“By the way, if he is subject to any sort of persecution in connection with this, we will be ready to give him political…