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(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump has consistently pushed back against the idea of Russia meddling in the election that put him in power, dismissing that claim as a hoax and an affront to the legitimacy of his victory.
Now, in a 37-page indictment Friday, special counsel Robert Muller has laid bare in excruciating detail the details of one Russian scheme, designed in part to benefit Trump’s election run. It even shows contacts between foreigners and his campaign, albeit unwitting.
And Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said Saturday at a conference in Germany that “the evidence is now incontrovertible” that Moscow interfered in the 2016 campaign.
Trump had seized on the fact that the Russian “information warfare” effort, as a top Justice Department official called it, began in 2014, before Trump announced his White House run. His team noted that the Russian efforts to sow discord are also said to have benefited Bernie Sanders, who was running for the Democratic presidential
Trump also asserted that the indictment proved there was “no collusion” between his campaign and the Russians.
His cheers of vindication Friday appeared to be more show than substance.
The administration still harbors deep worries about the direction of Mueller’s nine-month probe, which has shown no signs of abating and has expanded to explore potential obstruction of justice on the part of the president and his top aides.
“Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President,” Trump tweeted after the indictment was unveiled. “The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion.”