U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller has yet to release his report about Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but the Kremlin has been rehearsing its response for months, Associated press reports.
The narrative, shared by President Vladimir Putin, his top lieutenants and state television, is strikingly similar to U.S. President Donald Trump’s description of the investigation as a “witch hunt:” They say the whole process is about the Democrats’ stubborn refusal to admit that they lost the election.
“They don’t want to acknowledge his victory and do everything to delegitimize the president,” Putin said at his annual news conference in December.
Mueller has been looking into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia and whether the president obstructed the investigation.
Trump has been widely criticized for failing to publicly denounce Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election and appearing to accept Putin’s denials of such activity. Trump’s relationship with Putin has long been the source of intrigue, both at home and in world capitals. He has repeatedly praised his authoritarian peer while straining ties with many of Washington’s closest allies.