President of Russia Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he would not mind if the White House made public his talks with President Trump at a summit meeting last year because there was nothing incriminating in their conversations, The New York Times reports.
Just five days earlier, Mr. Putin’s spokesman had said the Kremlin would not want records of the two presidents’ talks released. But Mr. Putin, a former K.G.B. spy, said his previous job had taught him that any conversation he had could be published.
“Therefore, when they tried to spin another scandal over our meeting with President Trump in Helsinki, we told the administration directly: If someone wants to find out something, publish; we are not against it,” the Russian president said at an energy conference in Moscow. “I can assure you there was nothing there that could compromise President Trump.”
The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, said on Friday that Moscow would not want to see Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Putin’s conversations made public, amid the uproar caused by the White House’s release of an account of a call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
When he was asked on Wednesday about whether Russia intended to intervene in the 2020 election in the United States, Mr. Putin, in typical fashion, appeared to make a joke of the question.
“I will tell you a secret — yes, we will surely do this, just to make you joyful over there,” Mr. Putin said, provoking a round of applause from the crowd, consisting of Russia’s top officials and the heads of a number of Russian and foreign energy companies. “Just don’t tell anyone,” he added.