President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke Friday and both agreed “there was no collusion.” The two world leaders spoke about the connection between Moscow and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.
Sanders said that the two briefly talked about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report “essentially in the context of that it’s over and there was no collusion.” She added that she was “pretty sure both leaders were very well aware of (the Mueller report’s finding) long before this call took place” because it was “something we’ve said for the better part of two and a half years.”
When asked if Trump and Putin also discussed election meddling by Russia that Mueller detailed in his report, she said that the administration is committed to securing American elections and blasted the Obama administration for not taking action in 2016.
“This administration, unlike the previous one, takes election meddling seriously,” she said.
Trump later confirmed the call in a Friday tweet in which called the accusation of collusion the “Russian Hoax.”
“Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia. 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,” he tweeted. “We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the ‘Russian Hoax.’ Very productive talk!”
Trump has continued to claim vindication since Attorney General Barr released Mueller’s report. It lays out Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election and it notes “that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.” However, Mueller said in the report that he did not find a provable criminal conspiracy.
During Mueller’s investigation, he indicted twenty-five Russian nationals and three Russian companies for hacking and a disinformation campaign targeting Americans on social media.