The Megyn Kelly Era is officially underway at NBC.
After months of buildup, the former Fox News personality launched her Sunday Night newsmagazine this weekend with her much-ballyhooed interview with Vladimir Putin. During their sit-down, Kelly came right out and asked the Russian president if he had “something damaging” on President Donald Trump.
While he never explicitly denied the idea, Putin dismissed the host’s questioning as “nonsense,” insisting “we didn’t have any relationship at all. There was a time when he used to come to Moscow, but I never met with him.
“We have a lot of Americans who visit us,” he continued. “Right now, I think we have representatives from a hundred American companies that have come to Russia. Do you think we’re gathering compromising information on all of them right now or something? Have you all lost your minds over there?”
During the interview, which was filmed on Friday in St. Petersburg, Russia, Kelly also asked about Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election between then-Republican candidate Trump and Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
“They have been misled, and they aren’t analyzing the information in its entirety,” Putin said of U.S. Intelligence committees who have concluded that there was tampering. “I haven’t seen even once any proof of Russian interference in the presidential election in the United States.”
“You had said for months that Russia had nothing to do with interference in the American election, but this week you floated the idea of patriotic hackers doing it. Why the change, and why now?” Kelly asked. In response, Putin went so far as to suggest that perhaps Russia was framed by U.S. hackers.
“French journalists asked me about those hackers, [and] I told them the same thing I can tell you: Hackers can be anywhere,” Putin began. “They can be in Russia, in Asia, even in America… There can even be hackers, by the way, in the United States.” He then suggested that Stateside hackers might have “shifted the blame, as we say, onto Russia.
“In the midst of a political battle, by some calculations it was convenient for them to release this information, so they released it, calling out Russia,” Putin alleged. “Can you imagine something like that? I can.”
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 2, 2017
As for other notable soundbites from Kelly’s Q&A with Putin…
* When asked if he was aware of any meetings between Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and members of the Trump campaign, Putin said that “there were no meetings.” If there were, he had “no idea. I’m being completely honest with you.”
* Later asked about Jared Kushner’s alleged attempt to establish a secret communications channel with the Russian government, Putin insisted that “no proposal like that came to me.”
* On his alleged relationship with former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, with whom he was photographed with back in 2015: “I made my speech, then we talked about some other stuff, and I got up and left. And then afterwards I was told, ‘You know there was an American gentleman, he was involved in some things. He used to be in the security services.’ That’s it. I didn’t even really talk to him. That’s the extent of my acquaintance with Mr. Flynn.”
What were your biggest takeaways from Megyn Kelly’s sit-down with Vladimir Putin? And overall, what are your thoughts on the series premiere of Sunday Night? Grade it via our poll, then weigh in below.