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Putin compares former FBI Director Comey to NSA leaker Snowden, offers asylum

  • During a question-and-answer session with Russian citizens on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he "didn't really know the details of [Comey's] testimony."
  • Putin does believe it "looks strange" that Comey would memorize a conversation that he had with Trump and then leak it to the press.
  • Putin also offered political asylum, should the former FBI director be persecuted in the U.S.

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, is speaking out about the White House's latest turmoil between President Donald Trump and the interactions he's had with former FBI director James Comey.

"Does it make [Comey] any different to [Edward] Snowden?" Putin posed this question during an interview Thursday, comparing Comey to someone who copied and leaked classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013 without any authorization.

"Snowden's a human rights activist who defends some kind of position. And if there's some kind of persecution, we would be ready to offer political asylum to Comey if he's persecuted in the U.S.," Putin went on to say.

The Russian president was slated to take questions from residents all over his country in a phone-in expected to last for several hours on Thursday.

"We do not view USA as our enemy," Putin said during his annual question-and-answer session with Russian citizens. Moscow and Washington can cooperate on issues, including the non-proliferation of weapons and the Syria crisis, he added.

Back on the subject of Comey, Putin said he "didn't really know the details of [Comey's] testimony."

But the Russian president does believe it "looks strange" that Comey would memorize a conversation that he had with Trump and then leak it to the press.

President Trump was also up early and tweeting about Russia Thursday morning, calling the latest accusations made about him involved with collusion there "the single greatest witch hunt in American political history."

— Reuters contributed to this reporting.