On the heels of some severe testiness on Capitol Hill this week, President Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, spoke at length over the telephone.
The news comes on the same day that congressional leaders have give Attorney General Bill Barr and the Department of Justice until Monday to release the full, un-redacted Mueller report on the 2016 election. The ultimatum: Release of the report to Congress will help Barr avoid being charged with contempt after his refusal to testify before Congress on Thursday.
The Mueller report, which details the extent to which Russia attempted to interfere in our 2016 election, was discussed during Trump’s hour-long phone call to Moscow.
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone Friday morning for “over an hour,” during which they briefly discussed special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and other issues, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.
The conversation, the first between the two leaders since the Mueller report was concluded, was part of a larger discussion that was focused on the crisis in Venezuela and also touched on North Korea and other topics, Sanders said.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Sanders said the Mueller report was discussed “very, very briefly” and that it was brought up “essentially in the context that it’s over and there was no collusion, which I’m pretty sure both leaders were both very well aware of long before this call took place.”
The respective participants later released a few more tidbits of information regarding the correspondence between the White House and the Kremlin.
Trump later tweeted that he and Putin “had a long and very good conversation” in which the “Russia hoax” was discussed in addition to North Korea, Ukraine, China, trade and nuclear weapons treaties.
The Kremlin said the phone call was initiated by Trump. In a readout, Moscow said Trump and Putin discussed “the current state and prospects for bilateral relations with an emphasis on economic cooperation.”
President Trump has long been keen to improve the United States’ relationship with Russia, but the timing of the phone call may have prove to be a bit of a hurdle in terms of optics.
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