Wednesday, July 24, 2019 | ePaper

Putin 'knew from beginning' Mueller probe would find no collusion

  • Print


Vladimir Putin on Tuesday again called accusations of meddling "total nonsense"

AP, Saint Petersburg :
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday he knew from the start that the massive investigation into links between US President Donald Trump's campaign and Moscow would come up empty.
"We have said from the beginning that (special counsel Robert Mueller's) commission would not find anything. Nobody knows better than us, Russia did not meddle in any elections," Putin said.
"It was clear ahead of time," he said at the International Arctic Forum. "I talked about this."
The long-awaited report into election meddling concluded that no members of the campaign conspired with Russia to boost Trump in the 2016 presidential elections.
At the same time the investigation did find that Russia carried out a campaign of disinformation and hacked emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign team, and 25 Russians have been indicted.
Putin on Tuesday again called accusations of meddling "total nonsense for the (US)
A redacted version of the Mueller report could be released to the public by next week, US Attorney General Bill Barr said Tuesday.
Attorney General William Barr wrote in a summary of Mueller's report that the special counsel found no evidence the Trump campaign "conspired or coordinated" with the Russian government to influence the election.
However, Mueller uncovered evidence of a Kremlin operation to interfere with the 2016 vote. He charged 12 Russian military intelligence officers with breaking into Democratic Party computers and the email accounts of officials with Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Another indictment detailed Russia's use of phony social media accounts to spread divisive rhetoric and to undermine the U.S. political system.
Putin on Tuesday nevertheless repeated Moscow's across-the-board disavowals of election meddling, with or without participation from the Trump campaign. He also reiterated that the Russian government had no contact with Trump when he visited Moscow as a businessman.
"We have been saying from the start that this notorious commission led by Mr. Mueller won't find anything, because no one knows better than us: Russia has not meddled in any U.S. election," Putin said while attending an Arctic forum in St. Petersburg.
The Russian leader described allegations of collusion between Trump's camp and Russia as "sheer nonsense aimed at a domestic audience and used for domestic political infighting in the United States."
Mueller found numerous people associated with Trump were receptive to Russia's help, but Barr's summary said the special counsel didn't find evidence of a criminal conspiracy in meetings and other contact between Russian and Trump campaign officials.
Putin alleged Trump's political foes now were "searching for new pretexts" to undermine him.
"Those groups which are attacking the legitimately elected president, what are they doing?" Putin said. "They disagree with the choice of the American people and seek to reduce the results to zero."
Putin's rhetoric resembled Trump's statements disparaging Democrats. Asked if he agreed with Trump's description of the probe as a "witch hunt," Putin said "President Trump knows better."
At the same time, he insisted he wasn't vouching for the U.S. president with his comments on Mueller's investigation.
"I'm not defending President Trump. We have plenty of disagreements," Putin said. "His administration has introduced numerous sanctions against Russia, something we disagree with and will never accept."
The Russian leader added that despite differences, Moscow and Washington have found some common ground on the conflict in Syria. Putin said he hoped the United States and Russia could focus on more areas of mutual interest, such as nuclear arms control, fighting terrorism and climate change.

More News For this Category

Pope urges concrete measures to protect Syrian civilians

Pope urges concrete measures to protect Syrian civilians

AP, Vatican City :Pope Francis has sent Syrian President Bashar Assad a letter expressing his "profound concern" for the humanitarian situation in Syria and in particular the plight of civilians

Iran to meet with nuclear partners amid tanker crisis

Iran to meet with nuclear partners amid tanker crisis

AFP, Tehran  :Iran said Tuesday it will attend an urgent meeting with countries still party to the troubled nuclear deal, as it declared itself the "guardian of security" in the

Trump praises Pakistan's role in ‘progress’ on Afghan peace

Trump praises Pakistan's role in ‘progress’ on Afghan peace

President Donald Trump on Monday hailed Pakistan's help in advancing peace talks in Afghanistan, a marked shift in tone as the United States seeks an accord with the Taliban to

Airstrikes kill 50 civilians in Syria's northwest

Airstrikes kill 50 civilians in Syria's northwest

AFP, Maaret al-Numan (Syria) : Regime and Russian air strikes killed 50 people in northwest Syria on Monday, most of them in a crowded market, a war monitor said, in the

‘South Korea fired hundreds of shots at Russian jet in its airspace’

‘South Korea fired hundreds of shots at Russian jet in its airspace’

Reuters, Seoul  :South Korean warplanes fired hundreds of warning shots at a Russian military aircraft that entered South Korean airspace on Tuesday, defence officials in Seoul said, with Chinese bombers

News In Brief

UAE not leaving war-torn Yemen despite drawdownAFP, DubaiThe United Arab Emirates, part of a Saudi-led military coalition, is not leaving war-torn Yemen despite an ongoing drawdown and redeployment of Emirati

Anger soars over vicious mob attack on Hong Kong protesters

Anger soars over vicious mob attack on Hong Kong protesters

AFP :Anger soared in Hong Kong on Monday over a vicious assault on pro-democracy protesters by suspected triad gangsters that left dozens wounded, a dramatic escalation of the political turmoil

UK leadership favourite Johnson hits more turmoil on last voting day

UK leadership favourite Johnson hits more turmoil on last voting day

AFP :Britain's leadership contest entered its finale Monday with the favourite Boris Johnson facing more defections from ministers over his Brexit plan.The month-long contest between former London mayor Johnson and

Zelensky party heads for absolute majority in Ukraine

Zelensky party heads for absolute majority in Ukraine

AFP :Ukraine's comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelensky is set to control an absolute majority in parliament, ushering in a generational shift in the ex-Soviet country's political arena.The 41-year-old became Ukraine's youngest ever

Israeli forces surround demolition-threatened Palestinian homes

AFP . Jerusalem :Israeli forces surrounded a number of Palestinian homes it considers illegal south of Jerusalem early Monday, an AFP journalist saw, ahead of expected demolitions that have drawn