Kelly, who interviewed the Russian president in Moscow last week, tells PEOPLE he “directly contradicts Donald Trump on something that Trump has been telling us for a while and it is as plain as the nose on your face.”
Though Kelly declined to go into detail on Trump’s reported falsehood, she adds, “It’s very clear that Trump lied and Vladimir Putin puts the lie to Trump’s claim.”
Kelly previously interviewed Putin last June at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), in a 15-minute sit-down that was later aired on the premiere of her NBC show Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. She also moderated a panel Putin was on at the conference.
But Kelly says she “pressed” Putin like he’s never been pressed before in their latest sit-down.
“We spent a total of two hours together on camera and it was respectful but it was combative and it was relentless in its pursuit of truth,” she says.
Kelly says she grilled Putin on everything from Russian interference in the U.S. election, to the indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, to the Russian president’s re-election campaign, to relations between the U.S. and Russia.
Though the hour-long interview turned tense at times, Kelly says “to his credit, he didn’t get up and walk out, he allowed it.”
“He’s the Russian President, he’s Vladimir Putin, he didn’t have to sit there through that sort of a grilling but he did and he handled it. … It’s a special thing to see a man like that exposed in this way.”
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Kelly also reflected on the differences and similarities between Putin and his U.S. counterpart, a topic she says also came up in the interview.
“Clearly they both have authoritarian tendencies,” Kelly tells PEOPLE. “The difference is in Russia the people like that.”
“I would say they’re both — Putin is absolutely a strong man, that term in quotes, ‘strong man,’ ” Kelly continues. “Trump absolutely wants to project ‘strong man.’ That’s important to him, I think it’s one of the reasons why he likes Putin so much. He respects that image that Putin has absolutely cultivated but I think it happens to be true in his case as well.”
Confronting Putin airs Friday on NBC at 10 PM ET.