White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says Presidents Trump and Putin discussed election meddling and the Mueller report in an early morning call.
She would not say who initiated the contact that came amid an uprising in Venezuela but confirmed that the two leaders spoke for ‘a little over an hour’ on Friday and the special counsel investigation was among the topics.
‘Very, very, briefly it was discussed, essentially in the context of its over, and there was no collusion, which I’m pretty sure both leaders were well aware of long before this call,’ she told White House press.
President Trump described it as a ‘long and very good conversation’ in a tweet later.
‘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 announced.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says Presidents Trump and Putin discussed election meddling and the Mueller report in an early morning call
It was the rival presidents’ first conversation since the conclusion of the special counsel investigation. Robert Mueller’s report found that no one in the Trump campaign was involved in the Kremlin’s plot to disrupt the American presidential election in 2016.
Mueller did not arrive a verdict on whether Trump obstructed justice in 10 instances outlined in the report. A meeting he had with Russian officials at the White House the day after he fired James Comey as FBI director was described in one of them.
‘The day after firing Comey, the president told Russian officials that he had ‘faced great pressure because of Russia,’ which had been ‘taken off’ by Comey’s firing,’ the report says.
Sanders told reporters waiting for her after a television hit on the White House drive that Trump and Putin had a ‘very good discussion’ in a Friday morning call about nuclear agreements, trade and conflicts in North Korea, Ukraine and Venezuela.
She said it was ‘overall a very positive conversation’ ran a gamut of topics.
Trump’s top spokeswoman revealed that the leaders discussed extending an existing nuclear agreement and the possibility of a new nuclear deal that includes China.
She said the call was mainly about Venezuela, and the ‘focus was on helping the people and the importance of making sure they get food and medical supplies’ during a standoff between opposition party activists and Nicolas Maduro’s government.
But the Mueller probe also came up during the call, she admitted, providing little additional detail on the nature of the discussion.
The White House spokeswoman insisted to press that the Trump administration is taking aggressive steps to prevent future election meddling by Russia.
She said Trump is ‘looking at ways to actually prevent it from taking place, instead of what they did in 2016, just letting it happen, knowing about it and doing nothing, and then trying to blame it on the incoming administration.’
‘This administration, unlike the previous one, takes election meddling seriously,’ she charged, ‘and we’re going to do everything we can to prevent that from happening.’
She had no future summit to preview between Trump and Putin, after Trump cancelled the last one abruptly. She revealed that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would be meeting with the Russian foreign affairs minister next week.
‘I’m not aware of any plan upcoming for the two presidents,’ she said.