- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2018

President Trump said Friday that the indictments against 13 Russians for interfering in the 2016 presidential election show that his campaign didn’t collude with Moscow, and that he beat Hillary Clinton fair and square.

“Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong - no collusion!”

In announcing the indictments, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the Russian operation was aimed at benefiting Mr. Trump’s candidacy, but said there’s no evidence presented at this time to show that any Americans intentionally helped the scheme.

In a statement released later by the White House, the president said “it is more important than ever before to come together as Americans.”

“We cannot allow those seeking to sow confusion, discord, and rancor to be successful,” Mr. Trump said. “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.”



The president has repeatedly called the Russia probe a “hoax” by Democrats to justify Hillary Clinton losing the election.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the charges by special counsel Robert Mueller against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies “began in 2014 before the president declared his candidacy.”

“President Donald J. Trump has been fully briefed on this matter 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,” she said.

Democrats in Congress said the indictments validate their concerns about Russia’s involvement in the presidential election.

“The indictment reaffirms what our intelligence community concluded, what our committee’s investigation has borne out, and what president Trump denies: that Russia interfered in our election in an effort to assist his presidential campaign and harm Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Mr. Schiff said of the indictment, “While it does not include an allegation that any U.S. persons conspired wittingly with the Russian actors, the indictment leaves open the vital question of whether Americans, including any associated with the Trump campaign, knowingly played a role in Russia’s active measures campaign.”

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said, “This is the criminal conspiracy. This is what President Trump and his allies have repeatedly called a ‘hoax’ and ‘fake news.’ This is what they tried to cover up.”

“This is what we might never have known if President Trump had been successful in shutting down this investigation,” Mr. Cummings said. “Today’s indictments show precisely how the Russians worked to help the Trump campaign, in startling and extensive detail. And of particular concern, the indictments show how the Russians tried to suppress the votes of minorities across the United States in order to help Donald Trump win the presidency.”

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