Vladimir Putin to Megyn Kelly: Even children could hack an election

LONDON — Vladimir Putin again denied that Russia interfered in last year's U.S. election, joking to NBC News' Megyn Kelly on Friday that even her "underage daughter" could have been behind the hacking.

The journalist asked the Russian president about what American intelligence agencies say is evidence that he became personally involved in a covert campaign to harm Hillary Clinton and benefit Donald Trump.

"IP addresses can be invented — a child can do that! Your underage daughter could do that. That is not proof," Putin replied.

He also said that U.S. accusations about Russia were reminiscent of "anti-Semitism and blaming the Jews," describing them as "disinformation."

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Vladimir Putin through the years
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Vladimir Putin through the years
P362575 05: A class photo with Vladimir Putin, (fourth row, second from left) dated 1966 in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Laski Diffusion)
368975 01: (AMERICAS ONLY) FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, poses for a photograph in this file photo with his parents Maria and Vladimir Putin in1985 just before his departure to Germany. Putin was sworn in as Russia''s second democratically elected president May 7, 2000, pledging to restore Russia as a great power. (Photo by Laski Diffusion/Newsmakers)
ITAR-TASS: LENINGRAD, USSR. Vladimir Putin seen with his wife Lyudmila and daughter Maria. File photo from family archive was taken in spring 1985. (Photo ITAR-TASS) (Photo by TASS via Getty Images)
St, petersburg mayor anatoly sobchak and austrian chancellor's wife christine vranitzky during a ceremony to name 'austria square' in downtown st, petersburg, austria has pledged to restore the square, future president of russia, vladimir putin, looks on, far left, september 1992. (Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)
President George Bush meets with President Vladimir Putin at the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg. Bush was meeting with Putin to thank him for signing the UN resolution demanding disarmament of Iraq. (Photo by ?? Brooks Kraft/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
KRASNODAR, RUSSIA: Russian acting President Vladimir Putin (L) talks to a boy (R) during his visit to the Children's regional clinic hospital in Krasnodar 11 February 2000. Putin arrived in Krasnodar for a two-day visit to take a part in the All Russia Conference on emergency measures to stabilise and develop the Russian agro-industrial complex. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) (Photo credit should read SERGEI CHIRIKOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Uzbek president islam karimov helping rf president vladimir putin put on a traditional robe, uzbekistan, december 1999. (Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)
President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura greet President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila outside of the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg. Bush was meeting with Putin to thank him for signing the UN resolution demanding disarmament of Iraq. (Photo by ?? Brooks Kraft/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY4: Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar (L) pose with their wives Ludmila Putin (2nd L) and Ana Botella before their lunch at Moncloa Palace June 14. Putin said he had no reason to believe the arrest of media magnate Vladimir Gusinsky was politically motivated but vowed to examine the case, which has stirred stormy protest in Moscow. (Photo credit should read SERGEI KARPUKHIN/AFP/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Vladimir Putin - Politician, Mayor St. Petersburg, Russia - signs an agreement about the marketing of inventions. Second Mayor and Senator of Economics of Hamburg Hans-Juergen Krupp (right) (Photo by Ambor/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Moscow, russia, outgoing russian president boris yeltsin (r) shaking hands with russian prime minister and acting president vladimir putin (l) as he leaves moscow's kremlin, the seat of russian power,1999. (Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)
Russian prime minister vladimir putin seen casting his vote during the elections to the state duma, at the polling station #2026 in moscow's kosygina street,moscow, russia, december 19, 1999. (Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)
N362234 01: (FILE PHOTO) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov on August 16, 1999. President Boris Yeltsin announced on national television Friday, Dec. 31, 1999 that he had resigned and presidential elections will be held within 90 days to replace him. Yeltsin said he was stepping down immediately because he wanted Putin to succeed him. Putin, the country's most popular politician, immediately took control of the government and will serve as acting president until the elections. (photo by Laski Diffusion/Liaison Agency)
SEVEROMORSK, RUSSIA - APRIL 7: Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin watches the tactical exercises of Russia's Northern Fleet in the Barentsevo Sea, 06 April 2000. Vladimir Putin spent the night underwater in a nuclear submarine near the Arctic Circle. (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
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Putin made the comments in a panel discussion moderated by Kelly at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Later Friday, Kelly went one-on-one with Putin in a sit-down interview that will air on "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly" this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.

Putin dismissed the hacking allegations "idle prattle," "harmful" and issued his latest flat-out denial that Russia was behind the hacking.

"We didn't do this. Stop this!" he said.

Putin blamed the allegations on "internal political bickering."

He said: "There is no specific evidence, no facts, just assumptions, allegations and conclusions based on those allegations nothing more."

Earlier at the forum on Thursday, Putin suggested for the first time that private "patriotic" hackers could be behind attacks on the world's democracies — but he still denied interfering in the U.S. election.

In Friday's wide-ranging question-and-answer session with Kelly, Putin also questioned Trump's call for NATO allies to increase their military spending. He asked: "If you're not intending to attack anybody, why increase your military spending?"

He added: "The U.S. demands from their allies to raise their spending and simultaneously says that NATO is not going to attack anybody."

Putin suggested that NATO was an outdated alliance.

"NATO was established as a Cold War instrument in the fight against the Soviet Union ... there is no longer any ... Soviet Union but NATO is still there. The question is, what for?" he asked.

Related: Why Trump's Silence on NATO Article 5 Is a Big Deal

"NATO has already been talking about transformation ... into a political organization, as the kind of an organization that creates the elements of stability in the world," Putin said. He added, however, that "so far we are seeing the way the military infrastructure is expanding and heading towards our borders."

The Russian leader suggested the alliance's continued existence could be explained because it was merely an "instrument of U.S. foreign policy."

Trump has been pressing his 27 NATO allies to up their military spending to the 2 percent of GDP recommended by the alliance — a threshold only a handful of them meet. He has gone further than his predecessors and shocked Western foreign policy analysts by hinting that he may withhold America's decades-long protection if these targets are not met.

Putin's sky-high domestic popularity is built on his self-styled image as a man who can restore Russia to its former glory. He sees NATO as a Western encroachment on Russia's borders.

Kelly said the interview would be "the first time he has sat down with an American journalist since the appointment of a special counsel to look into allegations of Russian interference in our election."

The exclusive interview will air on "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly" this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.

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