Here is the full transcript of Chris Wallace’s interview in Helsinki with Russian president Vladimir Putin, as supplied by Fox News.
CHRIS WALLACE: President Putin, thank you for speaking with us. I am going to get to some specifics about the summit in a moment, but let’s begin with the big picture.
President Trump said in his news conference that our relationship has never been worse, but that changed a few hours ago. How has the relationship, big-picture, between the U.S. and Russia changed today?
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: Primarily, I think we should be grateful to our staff and our aides who spent several last months working with one another and not just in the preparations of this summit.
I’m referring to the effort of our agencies across the board who worked in even the very sensitive areas, sensitive both for Russia and the United States.
Primarily, I refer to the counter-terrorism efforts today, with – talking with President Trump, we agreed that terrorism is a greater threat than it seems at first.
Because, God forbid, if something happens, if there is a terrorist attack using the weapons of mass destruction, if they get their hands to weapons of mass destruction, it may have a devastating ramifications.
And so, our military, our special agencies, do establish cooperation in this particularly important area.
A case in point would be our cooperation in Syria. Although there are some understandings – misunderstandings to some extent, especially in terms of a broader picture, but this cooperation is going on between the military, between the special services.
That is our counter=terrorism effort in the general sense of the word.
But then, in 2021, the New START Treaty is about to expire, so what are we going to do next? I reassured President Trump that Russia stands ready to extend this treaty, to prolong it, but we have to agree on the specifics at first, because we have some questions to our American partners.
We think that they are not fully compliant with the treaty, but this is for experts to decide. We also discussed the Iranian nuclear program. We discussed what we can do to improve the situation with North Korea.
I’ve pointed out, and I will point out again, that I think that President Trump contributed a lot, that he did a lot to settle this issue. But in order to achieve complete denuclearization of the peninsula it will take international guarantees, and Russia stands ready to make its contribution to the extent that will be necessary.
So, we can say that there are several issues of crucial importance for us – this and some others – we are starting to achieve some understanding which gives us sufficient ground to say that some things – a lot of things changed to the better during today’s meeting.
WALLACE: But do you see the summit as a turning point, an end by effort – of the effort by the West in recent years to isolate Russia?
PUTIN: I think you see for yourself that these efforts failed, and they were never bound to succeed. I mean, take a look at the scale, the sheer size of it, the importance of it in terms of international security and the economy.
Take the – its contribution into the global energy market. It’s too big to be sanctioned and isolated.
Speaking of the things that do unite us, though, and of the things that require our joint efforts, it brings us to the idea that such attempts to fight one another should be ended, and rather look for ways to address common differences, to address common issues and challenges, how to overcome this – how to address these common concerns.
So, I think this is the beginning of the path. This is the start. We did make a good start today.
WALLACE: Mr. President, one of the issues that is standing in the way of more progress, as you know, are the allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. election.
You have repeatedly said, and you said again today, that this was not the action of the Russian state, that if it was anything it was patriotic Russian individuals.
I have here the indictment that was presented on Friday from the special counsel, Robert Mueller, that says that 12 members of Russian military intelligence, the GRU – and they talk specifically about Units 26165 and 74455 – they say – you smiled. Let me finish.
They say that these units were specifically involved in hacking into Democratic Party computers, stealing information, and spreading it to the world to try to disrupt the American election. May I give this to you to look at, sir? Here.
PUTIN: Well, let me start answering your question with something a little bit different. Let’s look at it this way. People are talking about the purported interference of Russia with the election process in the United States. I mentioned this in 2016, and I want to say it now again – and I really wish for your American listeners to listen to what I say. First of all, Russia, as a state, has never interfered with the internal affairs of the United States, let alone its elections.
WALLACE: But sir –
PUTIN: Second point –
WALLACE: – this is the indictment. It shows – I have 12 names here. It talks about specific units of the GRU – Russian military intelligence. Is the GRU not part of the Russian state?
PUTIN: I will get to it. Just have a little bit of patience. Then you will get a full answer to your question. Interference with the domestic affairs of the United States – do you really believe that someone acting from the Russian territory could have influenced the United States and influenced the choice of millions of Americans?
WALLACE: I’m not asking –
PUTIN: This is utterly ridiculous.
WALLACE: – whether they influenced. I’m asking whether they tried.
PUTIN: I’m about to answer. Well, this is the first point that I’m trying to make.
PUTIN: If you will have some patience, you will hear the entire response. I said this in 2016, and I say it now. The idea was about hacking an email account of a Democratic candidate.
Was it some rigging of facts? Was it some forgery of facts? That’s the important thing that I am trying to – point that I’m trying to make. Was this – any false information planted? No. It wasn’t.
These hackers that are being discussed – and I’ll get back to it; just bear with me for a moment – as we’re getting told, they hacked a certain email account and there was information about manipulations conducted within the Democratic Party to incline the process in favor of one candidate.
And as far as I know, the entire party leadership resigned. They admitted the fact of their manipulations.
So, that’s one thing – that manipulation is where public opinion should stop, and an apology should be made to the public at large –
WALLACE: But –
PUTIN: – instead of looking for the responsible – the party at fault. And now, to the mentioned things. As I said in the press conference –
WALLACE: But Mr. President, may I just say you’re indicating that they stole real money not counterfeit money.
So, are you saying it’s okay because the facts that they took from the DNC – from John Podesta – it was their real emails, so it’s okay to hack, and spread this information out, and interfere with the election?
PUTIN: Well, listen to me, please. The information that I am aware of, there’s nothing false about it. Every single grain of it is true. And the Democratic leadership admitted it – the first point.
Now, the second point. If you don’t like my answer, you can give it to me straightway and I’ll just keep silent. And if you want Americans to listen to my opinion, could you please wait for a little bit?
And now, for the specific accusations.
First of all, Special Counsel Mueller has accused a certain private c