Russian officials resisted any “I told you so” moments in their response to the release of the summary of the Mueller report Sunday, though their state-run television news channel Rossiya 24’s reaction was less muted.
“We in Russia have nothing to celebrate, the [meddling] accusations against us remain,” wrote Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the upper house of the Russian Parliament, according to The Guardian.
Kosachev continued saying he expected U.S. officials to argue.
“Yes, there was no collusion, but sanctions against Russia still need to be strengthened.”
Rossiya 24 was more animated, broadcasting that it took tens of millions of dollars for “the mountain to bring forth a mouse,” according to The New York Times.
The Kremlin has been looking to improve relations with the U.S. for some time, most notably in an effort toward the lifting of sanctions that were imposed after Russia annexed the Crimea in 2014, and after it was determined they used a chemical weapon against an ex-spy in Britain last August, according to NBC.
In December, the Trump administration added even more sanctions after the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the FBI, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded that Russia interfered in the election.
The December sanctions expanded a blacklist of individuals allegedly involved in the Kremlin-backed campaign to meddle with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, among other misdeeds, according to Reuters.
It appears the Mueller report does not indicate collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. That by no means exonerates the Kremlin, and with Russian hawks John Bolton and Mike Pompeo serving as a national security adviser and secretary of state respectively, it makes sense for Russia not to revel in the summary of the Mueller report findings.
It is unknown what else was unearthed in the Mueller probe in regards to Russian tampering.
Dmitri Trenin is the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, a think tank based in Washington D.C. He told The Guardian today the situation would “get worse before it gets worse,” with the focus shifting from election meddling to other points of conflict such as Ukraine and Venezuela.
He sees U.S. and Russian relations remaining toxic.
“Sanctions will follow in spades from U.S. Congress,” he added.
Kosachev and other senior Russian officials agreed, blaming U.S. media bias and anti-Russian sentiment and saying that they expect the United States to increase pressure on Russia as they brace for new sanctions, according to The Guardian.