Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said his country is ready to offer James Comey asylum if the former FBI director faces political persecution.
“If Comey will be under the threat of political persecution, we are ready to accept him here,” Putin said, speaking at the president’s annual, televised question and answering session with the Russian people. “It sounds very strange when the head of the security services writes down a conversation with the commander-in-chief and then leaks it to the media through his friend.”
Putin likened Comey’s actions to those of a human rights defender, even drawing parallels to Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked thousands of documents in 2013.
Comey testified last Thursday about conversations he had with President Donald Trump, saying that the president demanded loyalty from him and pressured the former FBI director to drop an investigation into Michael Flynn.
The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that special prosecutor Robert Mueller is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice.
Putin also partially disputed the claims of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
“The FBI director [Andrew McCabe] said there was Russian interference in the U.S. election process but again gave no evidence,” Putin said. “We have our opinion — we say it openly — but it’s not some kind of underground sabotage activity.”
However, classified National Security Agency documents showed that they found Russian election interference in 39 states. The report was dated on May 5 and was made public by The Intercept a month later.
Putin and Trump will have their first in-person meeting at the G20 summit in July.