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Putin says U.S. gripped by ‘spymania’ – World

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday the United States was in the grip of a fabricated “spymania” whipped up by President Donald Trump’s opponents, but that he believes battered U.S.-Russia relations would recover one day. 

Putin also praised Trump for what he said were his uncontested achievements.

“I’m not the one to evaluate the [U.S.] president’s work. That needs to be done by the voters, the American people,” Putin told an audience of more than 1,600 Russian and foreign reporters in a Moscow conference hall for his annual end-of-year news conference.

“[But] we are objectively seeing that there have been some major accomplishments, even in the short time he has been 
working. Look at how the markets have grown. This speaks to investors’ trust in the American economy.”

Trump took office in January, saying he was keen to mend ties that had fallen to a post-Cold War low. But since then, ties have soured further after U.S. officials said Russia meddled in the presidential election — something Moscow denies.

The U.S. Congress is also investigating alleged contacts between the Trump election campaign and Russian official amid fears that Moscow may have been trying to exercise improper influence. 

Putin dismissed those allegations and the idea of any kind of improper Russia connection as “fabricated” and “invented by people who oppose Trump to give his work an illegitimate character.”

He said he was puzzled by the infighting, which “inflicted damage to the [U.S.] domestic political situation” and showed “lack of respect for voters” who chose Trump. 

He did, however, warn the U.S. not to use force against North Korea, adding that the consequences will be “catastrophic.” 

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