Watch CBSN Live

"60 Minutes" asks Russian network's editor-in-chief if it backed Trump

"60 Minutes": RT & Russian meddling
"60 Minutes": RT & Russian meddling 03:04

U.S. intelligence agencies believe Russia used disinformation warfare to try to interfere with the 2016 presidential election and an American intelligence report finds that one of the weapons in the Kremlin's arsenal was its state-run news network RT, formerly Russia Today. Earlier this year, the English-language TV channel met the U.S. demand to register as a foreign agent.

In a preview of Lesley Stahl's report on "60 Minutes" this Sunday, RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan discusses the allegations of Russian meddling and her network's curious connection to President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Inside RT 01:53

LESLEY STAHL: Let's talk about Russian interference in our election.


STAHL: Which our intelligence agencies tell us happened.

SIMONYAN: And you believe them. Just like you believe that they were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Didn't you believe that? Continue to believe that Russian interference in American elections happened. In five years you will know that it didn't.

STAHL: It's also Facebook and Twitter….Say the same thing now.

SIMONYAN: Oh, what do they say? What do they say?

STAHL: They say that the Russians used their websites to perpetrate pro-Trump, anti-Hillary Clinton information.

SIMONYAN: I can't deny that there could've been Russian media that had their opinion on Twitter, on Facebook, whatever broadcast. Is that bad? Is that illegal? Isn't that what the American media do as well?...British media supported Hillary. No problem with that. No interference. Nothing. French media supported Hillary. No problem with that. Some Russian media supported Trump -- oh my God!

STAHL: Did RT support Trump?

SIMONYAN: No. RT did not support Trump.

STAHL: Was RT...

SIMONYAN: And our fault is that RT did not support Hillary either.

STAHL: I know that.

SIMONYAN: I wanted to win somebody who would be nicer to Russia.

STAHL: Did you get that?

SIMONYAN: No. Is it even possible? We don't know.

One curiosity is RT's connection to Michael Flynn -- President Trump's former national security adviser -- who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in the Russia probe. Simonyan invited him to RT's 10th anniversary gala in 2015.

STAHL: You paid him $45,000 to come to the event. And sat him next to Mr. Putin...It just conjures up the idea that eventually he may have been some kind of a conduit when he did get close to Trump.

SIMONYAN: Because he sat next to Putin in very...

STAHL: Not because he sat next to Putin. That there was some relationship.

SIMONYAN: With Putin? Putin didn't know who he was. I give you my word on that.

Watch Stahl's full report Sunday, Jan. 7 on "60 Minutes," which airs 7 p.m. on CBS.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.