President Trump declared that his presidential campaign “did nothing wrong” hours after special counsel Robert Mueller announced new federal indictments against Russian nationals for allegedly meddling in the 2016 election partly to help Trump win.
Trump, who rarely acknowledges Russia’s election interference said their activities began in 2014 – “long before I announced that I would run for president. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”
Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2018
Trump entered the race in June 2015.
Mueller filed his first criminal charges against Russian nationals and businesses on Friday for what he called a wide-ranging effort to undermine the 2016 presidential election, including by supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump.
The indictment charges 13 Russian nationals and three businesses – including an internet firm tied to the Kremlin – with conspiracy, identity theft, and failing to register as foreign agents. In the indictment, Mueller charged that some of the Russians, posing as Americans, “communicated with unwitting individuals” associated with Trump’s 2016 campaign “to seek to coordinate political activities.”
Trump did not take questions as he boarded Marine One on his way to Joint Base Andrews where he will take Air Force One to Florida.
Minutes later, Trump sent out his tweet and the White House released a statement that the president has been briefed “and is glad to see the special counsel’s investigation further indicates — that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected.”
The statement went on to quote the president calling for unity:
“We cannot allow those seeking to sow confusion, discord, and rancor to be successful. It’s time we stop the outlandish partisan attacks, wild and false allegations, and far-fetched theories, which only serve to further the agendas of bad actors, like Russia, and do nothing to protect the principles of our institutions. We must unite as Americans to protect the integrity of our democracy and our elections.”
California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, pushed back against the president’s conclusion, tweeting that the indictment “states no conclusion on issue of collusion or electoral impact of Russian interference on the election. The former is under investigation and latter is beyond their scope.”
No, Mr. President. The Special Counsel’s indictment states no conclusion on issue of collusion or electoral impact of Russian interference on the election. The former is under investigation and latter is beyond their scope. https://t.co/AMktnbeQrk
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 16, 2018
Trump attorney John Dowd said Friday that Mueller had done “a great job” in building the case against the Russian suspects.
“I’m very happy for the country,” Dowd said. “It’s obviously clear—and the deputy attorney general was clear—that no one associated with the (Trump) campaign was involved.”