Trump: “Very Productive Talk” With Putin, “We Discussed Trade, Venezuela… And Russian Hoax”

Friday, May 3, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Fri, 05/03/2019

Update: shortly after the conversation, Trump himself decided to chime in saying that he “had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia. 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. We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the “Russian Hoax.” Very productive talk!”

President Trump on Friday spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since the release of the Mueller report.

The two spoke on the phone for more than an hour, discussing the Mueller report, Venezuela, North Korea and other matters, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

On the Mueller report, Sanders said “both leaders knew there was no collusion,” adding that their discussion on the matter was brief, according to CNBC.

The two world leaders have spoken via phone over six times, according to official readouts from the White House. Putin said last year that the two spoke “regularly,” according to the report.

The discussion between the two leaders comes amid a tense political standoff in Venezuela. Opposition leader Juan Guaido has escalated his calls in recent days for a mass uprising, with the backing of the United States, against Russian-supported leader Nicolas Maduro.

The two countries have warned each other against intervention -CNBC

“This is our hemisphere,” said National Security Adviser John Bolton on Wednesday. “It’s not where the Russians ought to be interfering.”

Trump’s “primary focus” during the call was on “making clear that the United States stands with the people of Venezuela” and ensuring they have access to food, water and medical supplies, according to Sanders.

Top U.S. officials earlier this week blamed Russia for foiling a plan force Maduro out from leading the South American country to make way for Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. and dozens of other nations recognize as Venezuela’s interim president. -The Hill

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a warning to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that US intervention in Venezuela would violate international law and could lead to grave consequences, according to Reuters.

Trump also discussed a possible extension of an existing nuclear arms-control deal between the two countries by brokering a new deal involving China, said Sanders. To that end, Trump has directed his staff to begin work on a new trilateral nuclear agreement with Russia and China, according to the Washington Post. The current US-Russia stragtegic arms deal – START – will expire in 2021.

The US president stoked controversy in February when he announced the US withdrawal from a Reagan-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, claiming that Russia had been in violation.

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