On Monday, when asked directly, Russian President Vladimir Putin stopped short of denying that the Russian government may have “compromising material” about President Donald Trump. When asked by The Associated Press’ Jonathan Lemire during what became an instantly iconic joint press conference with Trump in Helsinki, Finland, the Russian President acknowledged the “rumors” but ultimately evaded the actual question.
Per a translator, Putin replied, “It’s difficult to imagine nonsense of a bigger scale than this,” then, “Well, please, just disregard this issues [sic], and don’t think about this anymore again.”
The most notorious of the rumors is, of course, the infamous so-called Pee Tape which is a rumored recording that allegedly contains footage of Trump in a Moscow hotel circa 2013, when he was in town in his capacity as owner of the “Miss Universe” pageant. Speculation is that the tape involves Trump, multiple prostitutes, and urination.
“I treat President Trump with utmost respect, but back then, when he was a private individual, nobody informed me he was in Moscow,” Putin said via translator. He also claimed he didn’t even know Trump was in Moscow at the time.
But it has been reported that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin were in contact, with much of that reporting having come from Donald Trump’s own mouth. The Washington Post reported that Trump wrote Putin a letter inviting him to attend the pageant. In 2014, Trump said in a Fox News interview that Putin contacted him while he was in Moscow.
But it has been widely reported that Trump and Putin were in fact in contact.
Putin reportedly could not meet with Trump but sent him a gift, according to the Washington Post. The Post also reported that Trump wrote Putin a personal letter inviting him to the pageant. He said, “When I went to Russia for the Miss Universe Pageant, Putin contacted me. And was so nice.”
Trump himself claimed in 2014 that Putin contacted him at the time.
“When I went to Russia for the Miss Universe Pageant, Putin contacted me. And was so nice,” he said in a Fox News interview.
Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow – if so, will he become my new best friend?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2013