(CNSNews.com) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday offered to allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller and U.S. officials to travel to Russia to witness the questioning of the 12 Russian intelligence officers that were indicted by a U.S. grand jury last week of hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee in an effort to interfere with the 2016 election. “Now let’s get back to the issue of these 12 alleged intelligence officers of Russia. I don’t know the full extent of the situation, but President Trump mentioned this issue, and I will look into it,” Putin promised during a joint press conference with President Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland. Putin cited a treaty dating back to 1999, called the Mutual Assistance on Criminal Cases, saying Russia has “an acting and existing agreement between the United States of American and the Russian Federation.”
“This treaty is in full effect. It works quite efficiently. On average, we initiate about 100, 150 criminal cases upon request from foreign states,” the Russian leader said. “For instance, last year, there was one extradition case upon request sent by the United States, so this treaty has specific legal procedures we can offer. The appropriate commission headed by Special Attorney Mueller. He can use this treaty as a solid foundation and send a formal and official request to us so that we would interrogate. We would hold the questioning of these individuals who he believes are privy to some crimes, and our law enforcement are perfectly able to do this questioning and send the appropriate materials to the United States,” he said.
If that’s not sufficient, members of Mueller’s commission can travel to Russia, Putin said, to witness the questioning of the defendants by Russian officials. “Moreover, we can meet you halfway. We can make another step. We can actually permit official representatives of the United States, including the members of this very commission, headed by Mr. Mueller—we can let them into the country, and they will be present at this questioning, but in this case, there is another condition, and this kind of effort should be a mutual one,” Putin said.
“As to who is to be believed and to who is not to be believed. You can trust no one if you take this. Where did you get this idea that President Trump trusts me or I trust him? He defends the interests of the United States of America, and I do defend the interests of the Russian Federation,” Putin said.
The Russian president said both leaders have common interests and are looking for ways to reconcile their differences.