During a press briefing on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised special counsel Robert Mueller’s “objective” investigation into Russian election interference, The Washington Examiner reports.
Through a translator, Putin said the following.
“On the whole he had a very objective investigation and he confirmed no traces whatsoever of collusion between Russia and the incoming administration, which we said was absolutely fake.”
Putin’s remarks come after a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Sochi, which was the first meeting between a U.S. official and the Russian president since the release of Robert Mueller’s 448-page report. Putin described the Mueller investigation as “very objective,” even though Mueller wrote about a “sweeping and systematic” interference effort in his report.
As The New York Times reported, Mueller — who had been appointed to investigate potential coordination between the Trump campaign and officials in Moscow — found no Trump-Russia conspiracy. Mueller, however, established “multiple links between Trump campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government.”
Furthermore, the special counsel’s office extensively detailed Trump’s attempts to obstruct the investigation, but in the end, refused to accuse the president of the crime. When it comes to obstruction, the Mueller report “does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Trump has claimed complete vindication, seemingly contradicting the findings of Mueller’s probe and stating that there has been no collusion and no obstruction.
The president has also called for investigations into the origins of Mueller’s probe, arguing that it was based on false pretenses and on documents such as the controversial Steele dossier.
Trump has also repeatedly accused American intelligence officials of trying to undermine his presidential campaign and his presidency.
As U.S. tensions with Iran simmer, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo was in Russia Tuesday to discuss a crowded agenda of deep differences with Russian President Vladimir Putin and possibly arrange a future summit with President Trump. https://t.co/WgNL8fYs5C— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) May 14, 2019
According to The Associated Press, Putin also said that his recent phone call with Donald Trump made him believe that his American counterpart is looking to “restore” the relationship between the two countries.
Mike Pompeo’s statements were not nearly as conciliatory, however. The secretary of state discussed Russian election meddling efforts, warning the country against interfering in the 2020 presidential election.
The U.S.-Russia relationship was not the only issue Pompeo and Russian government officials discussed. Pompeo focused on foreign policy, he told the press, revealing that he had discussed with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov foreign policy issues such as Iran, Venezuela, and Syria.
President Trump: "There has never been anybody that's been so tough on Russia, but at the same time were going to end up getting along with Russia. It makes sense to get along with Russia. Nobody sanctioned Russia like I have." pic.twitter.com/XuCtv1Qva3— The Hill (@thehill) May 14, 2019
The secretary of state urged the Kremlin to end its support for Venezuela’s President Maduro — the United States is backing coup leader Juan Guaido — and discussed arms control issues related to Syria and Iran.