The Mueller report concluded that Russia unequivocally interfered with the 2016 presidential election, but President Donald Trump still called the investigation into their meddling a “hoax” on his phone call with Russian President Vladamir Putin on Friday and refused to discuss it any further.
“We had a good conversation about many things, okay?” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office Friday. When asked if he called on Putin to not interfere in the upcoming 2020 election, Trump said he didn’t bring it up.
“We didn’t discuss that. Really, we didn’t discuss that,” he said.
“We discussed five or six things. We also, we went into great detail on various things, especially, I would say, on nuclear. Especially, maybe, on Venezuela. We talked about North Korea at great length, and pretty much that’s it. We also discussed trade. We intend to do a lot of trade with Russia. We do some right now. It’s up a little bit, but he’d like to do trade, and we’s like to do trade. And getting along with Russia […] is a very good thing.”
Watch the video below:
Reporter: Did you tell [Putin] not to meddle in the next election?
Trump: We didn't discuss that pic.twitter.com/2YymdWqLZA
— POLITICO (@politico) May 3, 2019
Trump later confirmed on Twitter that he mentioned some part of the investigation on the call, but called it the “Russian Hoax” to Putin.
“Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia,” the president tweeted. “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…”
He added in a subsequent tweet: “We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the ‘Russian Hoax.’ Very productive talk!”
….We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the “Russian Hoax.” Very productive talk!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2019
Trump’s dismissal of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election isn’t shared by most lawmakers in Congress — Republican and Democratic.
“This is a big deal. It’s not just a few Facebook ads,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) said on “Face the Nation” last week. “They were very successful in pitting one American against the other during the 2016 campaign.”
At the time, Graham indicated that he wanted to take serious action against the adversary government.
“The Russians are up to it again,” he warned. “And here’s what I’d tell President Trump: Everything we’ve done with the Russians is not working. We need more sanctions, not less.”
Watch the video below:
.@LindseyGrahamSC says the Russians are “up to it again” in regards to interfering in our elections. He says he tells Pres. Trump: “Everything we've done with the Russians is not working. We need more sanctions not less.” pic.twitter.com/Oes9TbAdGe
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) April 28, 2019
Despite interest from lawmakers on both sides to crack down on Russia, Trump indicated Friday that he wanted to stay on good terms with Putin, even with the 2020 election looming.