Trump tweets Russia started anti-US campaign long before he ran for president

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President Donald Trump claimed in a tweet Friday that the latest indictment issued by special counsel Robert Mueller showed that his presidential campaign “did nothing wrong” during the 2016 election.

 

“Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President,” Trump tweeted as he departed the White House for South Florida, the location of his private Mar-a-Lago club. “The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”

Trump has repeatedly denied allegations of collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin, often calling the investigation a “hoax” or a “witch hunt.”

Meanwhile, a Friday afternoon report from Bloomberg News, citing a source, said Mueller was still investigating whether Trump or any of his associates coordinated with Russia to meddle in the election.

The special counsel’s office said the influence campaign launched in 2014, but eventually turned to support “the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump … and disparaging Hillary Clinton.” Trump began his campaign for the White House in June 2015, although he had hinted at a serious run for years. In September 2014, he floated on Twitter the possibility of running to “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”

The phrase became his campaign catchphrase in the 2016 cycle.

The president tweeted Friday after he was seen walking out of the White House to board the Marine One helicopter. He ignored reporters’ shouted questions about Russia and the indictment.

The indictment handed down Friday focused on charges against 13 Russians and three Russian entities. They are accused of waging “information warfare” to meddle in the 2016 election cycle.

“Some Defendants, posing at U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities,” according to the indictment.

At a news conference Friday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein repeatedly emphasized that in this particular indictment, there is no allegation that the Russian operatives had any impact on the election’s result. He also said that Friday’s indictment does not allege that any American knowingly participated in the Russian operation.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Friday that the president 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 also included a longer quote for Trump:

“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. 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.”

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