Putin smiles as Washington ties itself in knots over Russia -The Asian Age

The Russian leader and former KGB officer could not resist some sardonic trolling on a day when the tortured legacy of the 2016 election sowed fresh mistrust and discord in Washington and the US President's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., got caught in the fallout.

"Despite the exotic nature of the work of special counsel Mueller, we must give him credit," Putin said during a visit from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Sochi on the Black Sea, reports CNN.

Emulating President Donald Trump's own language, the architect of Russia's election meddling operation said Mueller's report showed claims of collusion were "nonsense," appearing to be only too happy to add to the fog of controversy churning over the former FBI director's conclusions.

Trump claims he was "exonerated" by Mueller. But while the special counsel did not establish a conspiracy between Trump's team and Russia, he did unveil multiple contacts between the two sides in his report. And while deciding not to reach a decision on whether Trump obstructed justice, he piled up evidence that more than 800 former federal prosecutors said could lead to a prosecution of Trump were he not president. Some 5,500 miles west of Putin, the still bitter reverberations of that divisive election tightened their corrosive grip over the institutions of US political life.