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Big Part of Trump's Friday: A Phone Call With Putin

They talk about the Mueller report, Venezuela, and trade
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2019 2:29 PM CDT
President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet at the G20 summit last fall.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

(Newser) – President Trump and Russian President Vladi­mir Putin spent more than an hour on the phone Friday conferring about various international issues—and also, Robert Mueller's investigation. "We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the 'Russian Hoax,'" Trump tweeted. "Very productive talk!" Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, confirmed the conversation. The outcome of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election was discussed "very, very briefly," she said, the Washington Post reports. "It was discussed, essentially in the context 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," she said.

Mueller's report found that Russian interference was "sweeping and systematic," though it did not find evidence to bring collusion charges against anyone in the Trump campaign. The unrest in Venezuela, and the need to help its people, was a focus of the conversation, Sanders said, per CNN. Russia supports President Nicholas Maduro, while the US backs opposition leader Juan Guaido. Trump and Putin also discussed either extending a current nuclear agreement or "starting a new one that includes China," she said. North Korea came up, too. Sanders said the two talked about the "need for denuclearization." She said Trump told Putin about the "importance of Russia stepping up" in North Korea. Russia later said Putin pressed Trump to reduce the sanctions against North Korea. (The sentence given Maria Butina displeased Putin.)

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