Vladimir Putin calls allegations of Russian interference in U.S. election "fiction"

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a press conference in Moscow on Tue., April 11, 2017.

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WASHINGTON -- Russia's President Vladimir Putin says the allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election are "fiction" invented by the Democrats in order to explain their loss.

In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Putin reaffirmed his strong denial of Russian involvement in the hacking of Democratic emails. The interview was recorded during Putin's Monday trip to Paris and released Tuesday.

He said the claims of Russian meddling are driven by the "desire of those who lost the U.S. elections to improve their standing by accusing Russia of interfering."

Putin added that the "people who lost the vote hate to acknowledge that they indeed lost because the person who won was closer to the people and had a better understanding of what people wanted."

Trump made a similar claim in a tweet early Tuesday.

But a report released in early January by the U.S. intelligence community said that its agencies had concluded that Putin ordered a campaign involving covert intelligence operations and overt propaganda to undermine faith in the U.S. election, disparage Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump's election chances.

After the president decided to fire James Comey as FBI director in early May, Putin told CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer that Comey's dismissal would have "no effect" on U.S.-Russia relations.

"There will be no effect," Putin said, with press aide Dmitry Peskov translating. "Your question looks very funny for me. Don't be angry with me. We have nothing to do with that."

"President Trump is acting in accordance with his competence, in accordance with his law and Constitution," Putin said. "What about us? Why we?