- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Russian government believes special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is an entirely American domestic issue, according to the Kremlin’s top spokesman.

On Thursday, the one-year anniversary of the probe’s launch, the state news agency Tass reported that Russia’s Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, “The investigation [Mueller’s Russia probe] is not an issue for Russia’s agenda. It is a domestic American process, and we, naturally, are not going to interfere with it.”

Mr. Mueller, a former FBI director, was appointed as special counsel to take over the Justice Department’s investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign on May 17, 2017.

The 12 months since have yielded a flurry of criminal indictments and guilty pleas, tense court appearances, angry tweets from Mr. Trump and speculation over what the ever-taciturn Mr. Mueller already knows and what he’ll investigate next.

Early Thursday, Mr. Trump noted the anniversary with an early morning tweet making clear his frustration.

“Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History…and there is still No Collusion and No Obstruction. The only Collusion was that done by Democrats who were unable to win an Election despite the spending of far more money!”

Moscow has also repeatedly denied it made any efforts to influence the election. The single largest criminal case Mr. Mueller has brought, however, involves 13 Russians and three Russian companies, accused of conspiring together to fund a hidden but effective social media campaign to exploit American divisions on race and other hot-button topics during the campaign.

Hundreds of pages of court filings, and public statements from witnesses, have to an extent pulled back the curtain on an extraordinarily secretive investigation. But much remains hidden from view.

Mr. Peskov addressed that issue on Thursday.

“The investigation has rather abstract goals, and we are unaware of any substantial conclusions that have been drawn. Still, this is an American problem and it’s up to the Americans to solve it,” he said.

During an interview in March with NBC, not long after the indictment of the 13 Russians and three Russian companies, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russians live “in accordance with Russian laws and not US laws” and that if anyone had “really violated Russian laws, then we will bring them to justice.”

But he added that even if the Russians Mr. Mueller had charged had really meddled in the U.S. election — the affair was of no interest to him.

This article is based in part on wire service reports


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