JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians Hope Mueller Report Opens Door to Improved U.S. Ties” – New York Times/ Neil MacFarquhar, Ivan Nechepurenko, Andrew Kramer

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“There was crowing in Russia … that the special counsel’s investigation did not find coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign in 2016, but optimism about improved relations was tempered by the report’s extensive focus on Russian meddling in the presidential election. Official reaction … proved decidedly muted. [Putin spokesman] Dmitri S. Peskov … [said] the only news in the summary was …  ‘recognition that there wasn’t any collusion’ … he repeated his denial that Russia had interfered in the American election. … Putin has maintained a steady interest in good relations with the United States, he said …. From others in the Kremlin elite … the main refrain was ‘we told you so,’ along with some hope that … Trump would now be free to pursue his campaign goal of improving relations …. Analysts of all stripes said that without the cloud of the Mueller investigation over him … Trump might return to his idea of a grand bargain with … Putin, something he had appeared to put on the back burner as the accusations swirled. …”

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File Photo of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Others at Table at Helsinki Summit, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov, adapted by Steven C. Welsh, www.stevencwelsh.info and www.stevencwelsh.com