Donald Trump says he discussed 'Russia hoax' with Putin – but didn't raise election meddling

Donald Trump says he discussed 'Russia hoax' with Putin - but didn't raise election meddlingPresident Donald Trump said he discussed special counsel Robert Mueller's report with Vladimir Putin on Friday, but did not warn against the Russian president against meddling in US elections.  The White House said the two leaders spoke for more than an hour, during which they discussed the long-awaited report into Russian election interference as well as the crisis in Venezuela and the possibility of a nuclear treaty.  Mr Mueller's report was finally published earlier this month after an almost two-year investigation into Russia's attempts to sway the 2016 US presidential election and the Kremlin's potential collusion with the Trump campaign. Mr Trump said Mr Putin described the Russia investigation as "something to the effect that it started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse", adding the Russian president "knew there was no collusion whatsoever." The report concluded that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election in “sweeping and systematic fashion” to aid Donald Trump and harm Hillary Clinton. It also found that members of Mr Trump's campaign "expected" to benefit from Russia's actions but did not co-ordinate or conspire with Moscow.  It was the first conversation between the pair since the release of the Mueller report Credit: Yuri Gripas  During a brief Oval Office session with reporters Friday, Mr Trump was asked if he warned Mr Putin not to meddle in the 2020 elections and he said, "we didn't discuss that." "We didn't discuss that. Really, we didn't discuss it. We discussed five or six things. We also went into great detail on various things," Mr Trump said.  Mr Trump said the bulk of the conversation focused on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela but the pair also discussed North Korea and a new arms control treaty. Mr Trump said they discussed the possibility of a new agreement limiting nuclear arms that could eventually include China in what would be a major deal between world's top three atomic powers. ….We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the “Russian Hoax.” Very productive talk!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2019 "We're talking about a nuclear agreement where we make less and they make less and maybe where we get rid of some of the tremendous firepower that we have right now," he said. "So I think we're going to probably start up something very shortly between Russia and ourselves maybe to start off, and I think China will be added down the road. We'll be talking about non-proliferation, we'll be talking about a nuclear deal of some kind, and I think it'll be a very comprehensive one," he said. Mr Trump later tweeted that he and Mr Putin "had a long and very good conversation" in which they discussed the "Russian hoax" as well as trade, Ukraine and nuclear weapons treaties. In the Kremlin's readout of the phone call, the Mueller report was not mentioned. Moscow said Mr Trump had initiated the phone call and that the pair had discussed "the current state and prospects for bilateral relations with an emphasis on economic cooperation."

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May 5, 2019 8:51 am

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