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Wednesday February 19th, 2020 12:25PM

The Latest: Trump says he and Putin discussed Mueller report

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin (all times local):

2:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he discussed special counsel Robert Mueller's report with Russian President Vladimir Putin during an extended phone call on Friday. Trump says Putin described the Russia probe as "something to the effect that it started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse."

He says Putin "knew there was no collusion whatsoever."

During a brief Oval Office session with reporters Friday, Trump was asked if he warned Putin not to meddle in the 2020 elections and he said, "we didn't discuss that."

On the question of whether Mueller should testify before Congress, Trump deferred to Attorney General William Barr, saying, "I don't know. That's up to the attorney general, who I think has done a fantastic job."

It's possible that Barr could block Mueller's testimony, since Mueller is still a Justice Department employee, although Barr has repeatedly said he has no objection to Mueller testifying.

___

2:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump says that China is open to the idea of a three-way nuclear deal along with the United States and Russia.

Trump spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the idea earlier Friday and says he's already talked about it with China.

He says China "very much" wants to be part of a nuclear deal.

He says he's talking about a nuclear agreement where the U.S., China and Russia make fewer weapons and maybe even get rid of some existing "firepower."

The New START treaty is the last major arms-control pact remaining between the U.S. and Russia, but it expires in 2021.

That treaty restricts both the U.S. and Russia to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads on a maximum of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles and strategic bombers.

___

1:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the "Russian Hoax" was one of the topics he discussed with Russian's Vladimir Putin (POO'-tihn) during a "Very productive talk!"

Trump tweeted Friday: "As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing."

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said earlier that Trump and Putin "very, very briefly" discussed special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report during the call, "essentially in the context of that it's over and there was no collusion, which I'm pretty sure both leaders were very well aware of long before this call took place."

Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, but outlined extensive contact and Russian efforts to help Trump win.

__

12:09 p.m.

President Donald Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin (POO'-tihn) for more than an hour Friday about extending an existing nuclear arms agreement and potentially starting a new one to include China.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the two leaders also discussed "very, very briefly" the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller as well as the conflict in Venezuela.

She also repeated the administration's line that "all options continue to be on the table" regarding Venezuela, where Russia is helping to prop up the embattled government of Nicolas Maduro.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News
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