Putin says he doesn’t mind if transcripts of calls with Trump are published

The US president is facing impeachment inquiry over calls with Ukraine's leader

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the 2019 Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman is in the center. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he did not object to transcripts of his conversations with US President Donald Trump being released.

Mr Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry over memos of his conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Mr Trump has come under pressure from Democrats in the US after a July 25 conversation with Mr Zelenskiy, during which Mr Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political opponent.

At the opening of the Russian Energy Week conference in Moscow on Monday, Mr Putin said he was not against the release of transcripts of his conversations with the US president.

“Look, I haven’t been president my entire life. My previous occupation taught me that any conversation I have could be published at some point,” he said, referring to his past career in Russian intelligence. “I always act understanding that.

“When there was another scandal, my meeting with Trump in Helsinki, we said to the US, ‘If you want to publish our conversation, please do it. There’s nothing there that would somehow compromise Trump’s position as president.’”

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the impeachment inquiry after a whistle-blower raised concerns that the US president may have withheld military aid to Ukraine to persuade it to investigate Joe Biden, front-runner for Democratic candidacy in the 2020 presidential elections.

House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff said Congress was determined to obtain transcripts of calls between Mr Trump and world leaders, including Mr Putin, over concerns that he might have undermined national security.

The US president is also accused of asking Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help investigate special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Mr Trump might also have asked UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his assistance in undermining the Mueller inquiry, the Times reported.

Critics say it is another incident in which the American leader used the influence of the presidential office for personal gain..

This week, Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said US legislators would need Russia’s permission before releasing transcripts of conversations between the leaders, saying there must be “mutual agreement of the parties".

“This is a certain diplomatic practice,” Mr Peskov said.

Mr Putin also denied reports that Russia would try to interfere in the coming election.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign “did not exonerate” the US president from accusations of obstruction of justice.

Although his probe did not uncover direct evidence of collusion between the Kremlin and Mr Trump’s campaign, he did find that Russia had interfered in the elections.

On Wednesday Mr Putin said claims that Russia planned to intervene in 2020 were laughable.

“It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad," he said.

On Monday, the US sanctioned two Russians believed to be connected to the Internet Research Agency, which is accused of spreading misinformation across social networks in the US before the 2016 presidential elections.