Putin ready to improve US ties after Trump cleared of collusion
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Vladimir Putin is ready to improve ties with the US after Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was cleared of colluding with Russia, the Kremlin has said.
Russia’s foreign ministry has called on the US to formally recognise the findings of the long-awaited Mueller investigation after Mr Trump said he had “complete and total exoneration”.
Responding to the special counsel report, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had never interfered in elections in other countries and “doesn’t intend to do so”.
He added: “It’s hard to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if it isn’t there.”
Mr Peskov said it was now up to the US to make the first move in improving relations with Russia, telling reporters: “The ball is absolutely in their court.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller spent almost two years examining alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, bringing charges against 34 people and three Russian companies.
A summary of his main findings was released on Sunday which said there was no evidence that Mr Trump’s campaign “conspired or coordinated” with Russia.
The report does not exonerate the president of obstruction of justice, the US Justice Department said.
However, the summary, sent by the US Attorney General William Barr to members of Congress, said there was not enough evidence to prove charges of obstruction.
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White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Mr Trump will let Mr Barr decide whether the full report should be publicly released after calls from high-profile Democrats, adding the president was “more than happy for any of this stuff to come out”.
After the release of Mr Mueller’s findings, Mr Trump wrote on Twitter: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2019
He also tweeted several quotes from news reports about the investigation on Monday, including one that said it had found “no Trump-Russia conspiracy”.
Former FBI director James Comey, who headed the investigation before being fired by Mr Trump in May 2017, tweeted an image of himself in a forest surrounded by trees with the caption: “So many questions.”
Republican senator Lindsey Graham replied to the tweet, writing: “Could not agree more. See you soon,” implying Mr Comey may be called before Congress in the near future.