RNC spokesperson: Mueller indictments prove Russians worked to hurt Trump
.@kayleighmcenany: "Today marks the day that @TheDemocrats' Russia collusion conspiracy theory unraveled… The Russians were also organizing for @BernieSanders." pic.twitter.com/rHA3RcpXcC
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 16, 2018
Republican National Committee (RNC) spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany claimed Friday that an indictment charging 13 Russian nationals with allegedly attempting to interfere in the 2016 election proved that Russians harbored bias against President Trump as well.
Pointing to details in special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of more than a dozen Russian nationals, McEnany noted that Russian-controlled groups allegedly organized rallies protesting Trump’s election at least twice following his victory over Hillary Clinton.
“BREAKING: DOJ reveals Russians organized AGAINST Trump on Nov. 12th and 19th of 2016!!” McEnany tweeted, referring to dates after the Nov. 8 election.
BREAKING: DOJ reveals Russians organized AGAINST Trump on Nov. 12th and 19th of 2016!!
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) February 16, 2018
In an appearance on Fox News, McEnany doubled down on the claim, saying the “Russia collusion conspiracy theory” had “unraveled.”
“Today marks the day that the Democrats’ Russia collusion conspiracy theory unraveled,” she said. “We learned that the Russians were also organizing for Bernie Sanders. We learned that in late November of 2016, they then turned their efforts to be against President Trump.”
“Democrats deceived this country,” she added, “and they were caught today.”
An indictment from the special counsel’s office Friday accused Russian-controlled groups of organizing rallies both in support and opposition to Trump in the days following the election, including anti-Trump rallies that occurred in New York and North Carolina on the days the RNC spokeswoman referenced.
“After the election of Donald Trump in or around November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies in support of then president-elect Trump, while simultaneously using other false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies protesting the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” the indictment reads.
The indictment maintained, however, that the overall goal of the Russian groups and individuals who were charged was to support Trump’s campaign while hurting the campaign of Clinton, his Democratic rival. It also alleged that some defendants, while posing as U.S. citizens, communicated with “unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.”
All of the defendants named in Friday’s indictment face charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, while some also face charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The indictments Friday followed previous charges stemming from the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia that ensnared former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Manafort’s business associate Richard Gates, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos.
Flynn and Papadopoulos have both pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty in October. CNN reported Thursday that Gates was nearing a plea deal with Mueller’s team.
The charges unveiled Friday were the first in Mueller’s probe dealing specifically with Russia’s alleged efforts to meddle in the 2016 election, the primary focus of his probe.
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