‘Mountain gave birth to a mouse’

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday mocked U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Kremlin interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying “a mountain gave birth to a mouse.”

In his first comments since Mueller finished his probe, Putin sought to cast the 22-month investigation as a failure and disregarded the special counsel’s exposure of a Russian operation to put Donald Trump in the White House.

“It was clear for us from the start that it would end like this,” the Russian leader said as the Trump administration and Congress sparred over making Mueller’s still-confidential investigation report public.

Attorney General William Barr wrote in a summary of Mueller’s report that the special counsel found no evidence the Trump campaign “conspired or coordinated” with the Russian government to influence the election.

However, Mueller uncovered evidence of a Kremlin operation to interfere with the 2016 vote. He charged 12 Russian military intelligence officers with breaking into Democratic Party computers and the email accounts of officials with Hillary Clinton’s campaign.