Ex-CIA chief on new Mueller indictments: Claims of a 'hoax' are 'in tatters'
© Greg Nash

Former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanJournalism or partisanship? The media's mistakes of 2016 continue in 2020 Comey on Clinton tweet: 'I regret only being involved in the 2016 election' Ex-CIA Director Brennan questioned for 8 hours in Durham review of Russia probe MORE said Friday that claims the ongoing Russia investigation are a "hoax," as have been made by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBubba Wallace to be driver of Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin NASCAR team Graham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE, are now "in tatters" after new indictments by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE.

“[Justice Department] statement and indictments reveal the extent and motivations of Russian interference in 2016 election,” Brennan tweeted. “Claims of a ‘hoax’ in tatters. My take: Implausible that Russian actions did not influence the views and votes of at least some Americans." 

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinDOJ kept investigators from completing probe of Trump ties to Russia: report Five takeaways from final Senate Intel Russia report FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book MORE announced the slew of indictments at a press briefing on Friday. Thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian groups were charged with multiple counts as part of alleged attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.

The indictment notes that the Russians’ efforts to influence the U.S. election began in 2014.

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Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on Russian interference in the 2016 election, calling it a “hoax” crafted by Democrats. He’s also labeled Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt.”

In a tweet Friday, Trump claimed the indictment showed his campaign “did nothing wrong” and that there was “no collusion” with Russia.

The indictment claims that the 13 individuals and 3 groups of were connected to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian operation based in St. Petersburg that used social networks to spread divisive messages in the lead-up to the 2016 elections.

“The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” Rosenstein said.

The indictment alleges the goal of the Russians was to support then-candidate Trump and hurt Democratic opponent Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJoe Biden looks to expand election battleground into Trump country Biden leads Trump by 12 points among Catholic voters: poll The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden goes on offense MORE.

Some of the Russians allegedly posed as U.S. people and communicated with “unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.”

Rosenstein noted that there is no allegation in the indictment that Americans had any knowledge of the operation being conducted by Russians.

Trump has attacked Brennan in the past, labeling him a “political hack.” Brennan shot back in November, saying Trump attacked him in order to cast doubt on the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 election.