>> President Putin embarking upon his mammoth annual Q&A with Russian citizens. And taking the opportunity to slam a new round of proposed US sanctions on his country, saying that evidence of an internal political struggle in the United States.>>
>> Reuters Bureau Chief and Moscow Christian Lowe was listening.
>> This was a phone in session with voters that in a way showcased the things that Putin is best at. He answered questions that ranged from international affairs, to pensions, to housing, to Russian interest rates, it really showed his mastery of his brief.>> On Wednesday, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly for new sanctions to punish Russia for its alleged meddling in the 2016 US election.
And also to force President Trump to get approval from congress before easing any existing restrictions. On Thursday, Putin also said that ex-FBI Chief, James Comey, offered no proof Russia had tampered with the November vote, and even jokingly offered him asylum in Russia. The economy also came up as a discussion topic.
>> The thing that I found most striking about this session is what it tells us about domestic politics. They talked about people who were living in substandard housing, people who couldn't get access to the right health care, people who didn't have enough money to live off. And Putin showed himself to be empathetic, to be concerned, to be listening.
He talked about when he was growing up, he'd spoke how his family didn't have any much money at all. He seemed anxious to show that he heard people's pain, and let people know before the presidential election that he's listening and he's hearing their concerns.>>
The president appealing for privacy for his family. Saying he wants his two grandchildren to have a normal childhood, not grow up like a princess.>>