Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election “doesn’t reveal anything new” except the finding that President Donald Trump’s campaign or associates did not conspire with Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.
“We didn’t see the report itself, and almost nobody has, we don’t have the opportunity to comment in detail,” Peskov said, answering CNN’s question in a phone call with reporters.
“We saw some kind of summary, which doesn’t reveal anything new except admitting the fact there was no collusion.”
On Sunday, Mueller wrapped up his 22-month probe into alleged Russian meddling in the election, possible Trump campaign collusion with Moscow and obstruction of justice. US Attorney General William Barr submitted a four-page summary of Mueller’s conclusions to Congress.
Mueller did not find Trump’s campaign or associates conspired with Russia; the investigation into whether he obstructed justice did not conclude the President committed a crime but also “does not exonerate him,” Barr quoted from Mueller’s report.
Trump repeatedly attacked Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt” and a “hoax,” posting hundreds of tweets attacking Mueller and his team.
On Monday, Peskov reasserted Russia’s longstanding position on the question of electoral interference.
“Our country has not interfered in the domestic affairs of other countries, including the USA, including electoral processes, has no plans to do so and is categorically opposed to any interference of other countries into our own affairs,” he said.
“That’s why I want to remind you of the words of one Chinese philosopher, who said it’s very hard to find a black cat in a black room, especially if it’s not there,” Peskov said, adding: “Centuries go by, but the West across the ocean doesn’t understand.”
As the White House turns toward the 2020 campaign, Trump’s presidency is no longer directly under threat from the special counsel probe, although he still faces the specter of more legal and congressional action from other ongoing investigations.
With Mueller’s conclusions widely regarded as a boost for Trump, CNN asked Peskov if the conclusion of the probe created a political opening for the US President to improve relations with Moscow.
“The Russian Federation, as our President has said repeatedly, was never the initiator of harming our bilateral relations,” he responded, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin had given Trump a chance to reset relations at last year’s summit in Helsinki.
“Our President is interested in having cordial relations with America,” Peskov said. “So the ball is on that (American) side, and that ball was passed to Trump in Helsinki.”