President Trump had a contentious sit-down with CBS’ Lesley Stahl, who assertively pressured him into answering the following question: “Do you agree that Vladimir Putin is involved in assassinations? In poisonings?” Though he did not expand on her claims, Trump responded: “Probably he is, yeah. Probably.”
“But I rely on them, it’s not in our country,” he added, without clarifying who ‘them’ is. Washington previously accepted the claims by London that Russia was involved in the attack on the Skripals.
Now, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, noted that Trump “did not produce any direct accusation” and suggested his words shouldn’t be taken literally. “You have to be flexible about linguistic peculiarities [of Trump’s comment], there could surely be no other answer whatsoever,” he told Russian media on Monday.
During the interview, Stahl provided no clue about the “assassinations and poisonings” part, but she is not the only person to employ the bizarre claim. In a comment for BBC last month, UK Security Minister Ben Wallace has suggested that Putin is “ultimately” to blame for the Salisbury poisoning.
Wallace went further saying the poisoning of the Skripals “was almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state.
“Russia did not, does not and cannot have anything to do with these accusations,” Peskov commented on Monday.
Lesley Stahl has interviewed President Trump three times for 60 Minutes. This time, he was “so much more confident. He is truly president…I felt it in this interview.” Watch Lesley discuss her most recent interview with the president: https://t.co/B9gGU3rKyE pic.twitter.com/FT8nrjLphW
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 15, 2018
The CBS interview itself saw a lot of verbal confrontation between Trump and Stahl. At one point, Trump’s patience ran out on the veteran reporter as she was pressing him for a definitive answer on the fate of the Russia probe, the immigrant family separation policy and possible cabinet reshuffles.
Later, Stahl, who has interviewed Trump three times, said this time, he was “so much more confident while giving the answers. He is truly president…I felt it in this interview,” she said.