White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Saturday that the recent indictments of 13 Russian nationals provide “incontrovertible” evidence that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 presidential election.
“As you can see with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain, whereas in the past it was difficult to attribute for a couple of reasons,” McMaster said at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.
A federal grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies alleged to have taken part in a massive “information warfare” campaign against the U.S. on Friday. In the indictment, Special Counsel Robert Mueller laid out evidence that the Russian operatives used fake online personas and stole Americans’ personal information in order to purchase political ads on social media platforms and to stage campaign rallies across the U.S. (RELATED: Mueller Indicts 13 Russian Nationals Involved In Election Interference)
In his announcement of the indictments, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that the indictment makes no allegation that “any American had any knowledge” of the meddling scheme.
He also said that “there is no allegation in the indictment of any effect on the outcome of the election.”
President Donald Trump seized on Rosenstein’s comments to declare that the indictments provided evidence that his campaign did not collude with the Kremlin.
“The Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion!” he tweeted.
In his remarks, McMaster said that Russia may have to “reevaluate what it’s doing” with regard to meddling in Western elections.
“It’s just not working,” he said.
“All that has done is appeal to those big fringes while uniting all of our politics actually against Russia and Russian interference.”
McMaster’s remarks came shortly after Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the indictments during a speech on the same Munich conference stage.
“Until we see the facts, everything else is just blabber — I’m sorry for this expression,” Lavrov told the audience, which was full of foreign dignitaries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
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