News Brief

Russians gloat over Mueller’s findings

Of all the parts of the world where U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report was anxiously awaited, Moscow was high on the list — especially as the place where scorn and scoffing was loudest.

Russia’s state-aligned media ran busy headlines over the weekend that mimicked those from the White House: the more than two-year investigation was  “shameful for America” and a waste of taxpayer money and a vindication for the Trump and Putin administrations which have been saying all along that the American president’s enemies had been making  a mountain out of a molehill. Or as Trump himself put it: a witch hunt.

The spin was typical as since the President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Russians have adamantly denied interfering in the 2016 American election [although U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the opposite]. As did the White House this weekend, pro-Kremlin officials pounced on the U.S. attorney general’s summation that the Mueller investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Tweeting about the report, Russian Senator Alexey Pushkov denounced  the investigation as being a biased campaign against Trump with a clear goal of disrupting relations between Russia and the United States.

The head of the Russian Federation Council’s committee on foreign affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, wrote in Rossiyiska Gazeta that sanctions against Russia came after two years of “unceasing lies [about the collusion] that underscored politics at the highest level.”

Kosachev blamed the U.S. Congress for fanning anti-Russian sentiment and, as he put it, passing putative laws that handcuffed a White House that had wanted better ties between the two countries.

In the swell of victory in Moscow, a key piece of information from the report got ignored.

It’s true, that the investigation didn’t establish Trump’s collusion with Russia but it did say that the Kremlin had sought to meddle in the elections. No headlines addressed that fact.

What many Russian pundits agreed with their Washington counterparts about was that the release of the Mueller report won’t end the controversy. They predicted that more fake news will be coming out regarding the case — much like what Russians consider the first major conspiracy against Trump: the so-called Steele Dossier.