Putin Denies Influencing US Election: ‘Read My Lips — No'

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded Russia meddled in the election

Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced American accusations that his country interfered in last year's elections as "lies," CNBC reported.

It's the strongest statement yet from Russia on the allegations, currently under investigation in the House and Senate. The FBI is investigating whether any associates of President Donald Trump's campaign coordinated with Russia during the campaign, in which the Democratic party was hacked. The U.S. intelligence community concluded Russia was behind the hacking.

Asked on a CNBC-moderated panel in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk if Putin and his government tried to influence the outcome of the election, Putin quoted a former president to give a flat denial: "Read my lips — no."

Putin attributed the quote to Ronald Reagan, though it was actually said by George H.W. Bush at the 1988 Republican National Convention, denying he would ever raise taxes. He later did raise taxes.

Putin said his government views the U.S. as a great power that it wants good relations with. But the allegations of election meddling "are fictional, illusory and provocations, lies," he said.

"All these are used for domestic American political agendas. The anti-Russian card is played by different political forces inside the United States to trade on that and consolidate their positions inside," he continued.

Putin also said he is ready to meet with President Donald Trump, who has spoken positively about Putin before, if Finland hosts an Arctic summit, which its leader said it would be honored to do.

A winter storm that contributed to at least five deaths in the Midwest pummeled the mid-Atlantic region for a second day Sunday, bringing with it an icy mix that knocked out power, cancelled flights and contributed to hundreds of car accidents. Virginia State Police said the driver of a military surplus vehicle was killed late Saturday after he lost control on Interstate 81 because of slick road conditions. Police said Ronald W. Harris, 73, of Gainesville, Georgia, died after his vehicle was struck by two tractor-trailers. The two tractor-trailer drivers were taken to a hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening. The state medical examiner determined Sunday that Harris' death was storm-related, police said
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