President Donald Trump spoke by phone Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin for more than an hour, discussing the situation in Venezuela, North Korea and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling, among other things, according to White House officials and multiple reports.
Trump confirmed the call in a pair of tweets Friday afternoon.
“We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the ‘Russian Hoax.’ Very productive talk!” the president wrote. “As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
Speaking with reporters later Friday, Trump said Putin “actually sort of smiled when he said something to the effect of, (the Mueller investigation) started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse.”
“He knew that, because he knew there was no collusion,” Trump said.
The president said they did not discuss Russia’s role in the meddling and that he did not tell Putin not to meddle in U.S. elections despite Mueller’s determination that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in a “sweeping and systematic fashion.”
“We didn’t discuss that,” Trump said.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Trump and Putin spoke “very, very briefly” about the investigation, “essentially in the context of ... it’s over and there was no collusion.”
On the topic of the Russian election interference, Huckabee Sanders said the conversation was “very quick,” according to The Washington Post.
“What I can tell you is that this administration, unlike the previous one, takes election meddling seriously, and we’re going to do everything that we can to prevent it from happening,” she said.
Mueller last month completed his probe of Russian election interference after 22 months of investigation. The Justice Department has since released a redacted version of his 448-page report, in which Mueller says he found no evidence the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian officials to win the 2016 presidential election.
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