Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed to offer an olive branch to special counsel Robert Mueller during a news conference after his summit with President Trump on Monday. Perhaps Mueller could come to Russia and interview the 12 intelligence officers indicted by a grand jury last week for alleged involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Hillary Clinton.
All Putin would ask was that the courtesy be returned.
“Then we would expect that the Americans would reciprocate,” he said through a translator, “and they would question officials, including the officers of law enforcement and intelligence services of the United States, who we believe have something to do with illegal actions on the territory of Russia, and we have to request the presence of our law enforcement.”
Did he have an example of one such investigation? He certainly did: Bill Browder.
“Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia. They’ve never paid any taxes, neither in Russia or the United States,” Putin said. “And yet the money escaped the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent a huge amount of money — $400 million — as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Well, that’s a personal case. It might have been legal, the contribution itself, but the way the money was earned was illegal.”
Those transactions, he said, were “accompanied and guided” by intelligence officials. Those officials could be interviewed in the presence of Russians — just as he would graciously allow Mueller’s team to be present for the questioning of his own officers.