Toronto, March 26: US President Donald Trump has claimed “complete and total exoneration” after Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into his election campaign found no evidence that the president or any of his campaign associates conspired with Russia to win the 2016 elections.
Speaking to reporters in Florida, Trump claimed complete vindication. “It was just announced there was no collusion with Russia, the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. There was no collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction, none whatsoever,” Trump said. The President is incorrect to say there was ‘no obstruction’ as the Mueller report refused to conclude either way — whether there was obstruction or not. Trump then turned around the table on the investigation itself, calling it “an illegal takedown that failed.”
“It’s a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest, it’s a shame your President had to go through since before I was even elected,” he said. He added that he might look in to the investigation saying, “It began illegally, and hopefully somebody’s going to look at the other side.”
Even as Trump claimed victory, something similar played out on the other side of the globe with Moscow reacting to the findings of Mueller’s probe. “The long-awaited Mueller report has proved what we in Russia knew long ago: there was no conspiracy between Trump or any member of his team and the Kremlin,” wrote Konstantin Kosachev, the chair of the Federation Council’s committee on foreign affairs.
However, Kosachev added the probe findings might in fact mean that the US government increases its sanctions programme against Russia. “We in Russia have nothing to celebrate, the [meddling] accusations against us remain,” Kosachev wrote, saying he expected US officials to argue: “Yes, there was no collusion, but sanctions against Russia still need to be strengthened.”
He ended with a message which seemed to target US President Trump who has never come out and criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin outright. Trump in fact had in a bilateral meeting with Putin in Helsinki, famously said that he believed the Russian President that there had been no Russian attempt to target the 2016 US elections. Kosachev wrote, “Russia was ready to improve relations with the U.S., but the question remained – Is Trump ready to take that risk?”