President Trump responded to the indictment of 13 Russians Friday over allegations that they interfered to influence the 2016 presidential election, asserting as he has in in the past that his campaign did not collude with foreign entities.
The indictment, brought about by the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, claims the defendants conducted elaborate information warfare against the U.S. through social media and other means. Deputy Attorney General noted 12 of the individual defendants at different times worked for the Internet Research Agency, based in Saint Petersberg, Russia.
The indictment did say individuals associated with the Trump campaign were “unwitting” when contacted by Russians, and Rosenstein said the indictment does not allege collusion on the part of the Americans. The investigation is not over, however, and Rosenstein did not go so far as to say there was no collusion. Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray briefed Mr. Trump on the matter Friday, CBS News’ Major Garrett reports, according to two sources familiar with the talks. They told him that that the indictments did not allege cooperation or collusion with Trump campaign.
Mr. Trump seized the opportunity, saying, “The Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion!”
Minutes later, the White House issued its own statement from the president.
“It is more important than ever before to come together as Americans,” Mr. Trump said in a statement sent from the White House’s press shop. “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.”
— CBS News’ Kathryn Watson contributed to this report
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