Putin Mockingly Offers Comey Asylum

Posted June 26, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin joked this week about offering former FBI Director James Comey political asylum, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Comey, sacked by the Trump administration last month, acted like USA whistleblower Edward Snowden, said the Russian leader during an annual televised call-in known as "Direct Line with Vladimir Putin", Xinhua news agency reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared sarcastically fired Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey's act of leaking information to media to that of a human rights activist.

Snowden, a former contractor for the CIA, was given asylum by Russian Federation for leaking classified information from the National Security Agency to journalists.

"[Comey] suddenly said he recorded a conversation with Trump, and then handed the tape over to the media, which is odd".

Comey, who was overseeing the probe of Russia's involvement in the US elections, was recently sacked by US President Trump.

"[Former FBI Director James Comey] thinks there was Russia's interference in the electoral process, but does not provide any proof again", Putin said.

Putin chose to answer 73 questions among the 1.9 million questions he received at the 15th nationally televised "Direct Line" questions-and-answers session.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been secretive about his family life in the past, says he has two grandchildren whose privacy he wants to respect.

"I have grandchildren. They live normal lives", Putin said during his annual marathon TV call-in with Russians, confirming a revelation from a series of interviews by USA filmmaker Oliver Stone that have been airing in the U.S. this week.

On a more conciliatory note, Mr Putin added that Russian Federation still hopes for the normalisation of ties with the US. An American man called into the show from Arizona, asking Putin how to deal with the "racist Russophobia" he said was rampant in the US.

Some of the text messages demanded Putin not to contest the 2018 election when he is expected to run for a fourth term.

Putin added that Russian Federation is ready to lift its sanctions if Western countries lift their own, too.

Putin mixed the tough talk with benevolent promises about the Russian economy to disgruntled callers complaining about decrepit housing and low salaries during the four-hour marathon meant to burnish his father-of-the-nation image.

Navalny has been sentenced to 30 days behind bars after being detained on Monday on his way to a protest in Moscow against government corruption, where hundreds were arrested in the city centre. He dodged an oblique question about whether he would still be president at the time of the next phone-in.