President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin discussed the Mueller report, Venezuela and North Korea during a lengthy phone call Friday, the White House said.
The two talked for more than an hour, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
"Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia," Trump wrote in a post on Twitter shortly after Sanders disclosed the call. "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."
Regarding the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, which concluded in March, Sanders said, "both leaders knew there was no collusion." The discussion on the matter was brief, she said.
Trump also used the conversation to call on Putin to put pressure on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to denuclearize, Sanders said. The Kremlin said that Putin urged Trump to reduce sanctions on the country.
"....We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the 'Russian Hoax.' Very productive talk!" Trump wrote in a follow-up tweet.
The Kremlin said the call was initiated by "the American side," and did not mention the Mueller probe in its readout of the conversation provided to NBC. The talk was "businesslike and constructive," the Kremlin said.
Trump and Putin have spoken on the phone more than half a dozen times since Trump became president, according to official readouts from the White House. Last year, Putin said the two spoke "regularly."
The discussion between the two leaders comes amid tense relations, with a geopolitical standoff in Latin America threatening to erupt into widespread violence and intense domestic attention on Trump's dealings with Russia.
In recent days, the two countries have warned each other against further intervention in Venezuela, where U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido is escalating calls for a mass uprising against President Nicolas Maduro, who retains Russian support.
"This is our hemisphere," Bolton said Wednesday. "It's not where the Russians ought to be interfering."
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned in a phone call to Mike Pompeo, the American secretary of State, that U.S. intervention in the country violated international law and could lead to grave consequences, Reuters reported.
The Trump administration has not ruled out armed intervention. Vice President Mike Pence told CNBC in an interview Friday that "all options" remain on the table, but noted that "we hope for a peaceful transition of power."
During the phone call, Putin "stressed that only the Venezuelans themselves have the right to determine the future of their country," the Kremlin said.
The looming threat of Russian meddling in the 2020 election has raised concerns in Washington.
Since Trump was elected, Democrats have accused him of having too cozy a relationship with Putin, criticism that was inflamed by the steady drip of news from Mueller's probe.
The U.S. intelligence community has said that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to benefit Trump and harm his electoral rival Hillary Clinton, and Mueller found that the Trump campaign welcomed that assistance, though he wrote that there was insufficient evidence to bring a charge of conspiracy.
Law enforcement has warned that Russia's efforts to meddle in American elections are likely to be stepped up in 2020, when Trump next faces voters. FBI Director Christopher Wray warned last month that Russia's continued interference in U.S. elections represent a "significant counterintelligence threat."
Neither the White House nor the Kremlin included discussion of that threat in their summaries of the phone call.
The full readout from the Kremlin is below:
"At the initiative of the American side, Vladimir Putin held a long telephone conversation with the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump.
The current state and prospects of bilateral relations with an emphasis on economic cooperation were discussed. The presidents spoke in favor of developing mutually beneficial trade and investment relations. A mutual spirit was confirmed to intensify the dialogue in various fields, including on issues of strategic stability.
Vladimir Putin informed Donald Trump about the main results of the meeting with Chairman of the DPRK State Council Kim Jong-un in Vladivostok on April 25, stressing that Pyongyang's conscientious fulfillment of its obligations should be accompanied by reciprocal steps to reduce sanctions pressure on North Korea. Both sides noted the importance of consistently moving along the path of denuclearization and achieving long-term normalization on the Korean Peninsula.
The situation in Ukraine was touched on in the context of the recent presidential elections. Vladimir Putin emphasized that the new Kiev leadership needs to take real steps to implement the Minsk accords, which are key to resolving the internal Ukrainian conflict.
During the exchange of views on the situation around Venezuela, the President of Russia stressed that only the Venezuelans themselves have the right to determine the future of their country. At the same time, outside interference in internal affairs, attempts by forceful change of power in Caracas, undermine the prospects for a political settlement of the crisis.
It was agreed to continue contacts at various levels.
The heads of state expressed satisfaction with the conversation, which was businesslike and constructive."
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