GOP cautious, Dems strident in reaction to new indictments

Congressional Democrats and some Republicans said Friday that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE’s criminal charges against 13 Russians and three Russian entities offered even more proof that Moscow had meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

Top Democrats on the Hill argued that the indictments provided clear evidence that the Russian government used an aggressive social media campaign to sway U.S. voters to back Donald Trump over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSupreme Court agrees to hear 'faithless elector' cases Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire Climate 'religion' is fueling Australia's wildfires MORE, though the handful of Republicans who weighed in made no mention of either presidential candidate.

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“We have known that Russians meddled in the election, but these indictments detail the extent of the subterfuge,” Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanEsper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Latinos say they didn't benefit from Trump tax cuts — here's why Conservative commentator rips Trump's signature tax overhaul: 'It was a big mistake' MORE (R-Wis.) said in a statement. “These Russians engaged in a sinister and systematic attack on our political system. It was a conspiracy to subvert the process, and take aim at democracy itself."

“Today’s announcement underscores why we need to follow the facts and work to protect the integrity of future elections,” Ryan added.

In a tweet, Rep. Kevin YoderKevin Wayne YoderSharice Davids to vote for Trump impeachment articles: 'The facts are uncontested' Feehery: How Republicans can win back the suburbs K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers MORE (R-Kan.) reaffirmed his confidence in Mueller, saying he’s convinced the former FBI director will do a “strong job” in getting to the bottom of the Russian interference.

“Today, [Mueller] sent an important message to the Russians that those responsible for attempted interference in our elections will be brought to justice,” tweeted Yoder, who also made no mention of Trump or Clinton.

But House Democrats, led by Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRepublicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment Trump chooses high-profile but controversial legal team Trump: Impeachment timing intended to hurt Sanders MORE (Calif.), said details in Mueller’s indictment directly refute Trump’s assertion that Russia neither meddled in the election nor aided his successful campaign.

“As desperately as President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE insists that the Special Counsel investigation is a ‘hoax,'” Pelosi said, “these latest indictments build on multiple guilty pleas and indictments of several Trump campaign officials, demonstrating the gravity of the Trump-Russia scandal.”

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial GOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which probing Russian meddling, echoed Pelosi’s remarks.

“The indictment reaffirms what our Intelligence Community concluded, what our Committee's investigation has borne out, and what President Trump denies: that Russia interfered in our election in an effort to assist his presidential campaign and harm Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Schiff said in a statement.

The 37-page federal indictment, unveiled by Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinJournalist alleging Obama administration spied on her seeks to reopen case Rosenstein on his time in Trump administration: 'We got all the big issues right' Rod Rosenstein joins law and lobbying firm MORE at Justice Department headquarters, alleges that Russian officials created false U.S. personas and stole the identities of real U.S. people to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, “promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy.”

The objective of the Russians, the indictment says, was to back Trump's campaign and harm Clinton’s. Some of these Russians communicated with “unwitting” associates of the Trump campaign, the document says.

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Apple, Barr clash over Pensacola shooter's phone | Senate bill would boost Huawei alternatives | DHS orders agencies to fix Microsoft vulnerability | Chrome to phase out tracking cookies Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech Sen. Warner calls on State Department to take measures to protect against cyberattacks MORE (R-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has also been probing Russia, called the indictment vindication for his panel’s work.  

“With this indictment, the Special Counsel and his team have taken an important step to hold Russia accountable,” he said.

In his own statement, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications Senators are politicians, not jurors — they should act like it MORE (D-N.Y.) called on Trump to implement sanctions against Russia that have already cleared Congress. Trump has delayed acting on those sanctions, which came in response to Moscow’s election interference.

“The indictments are also a reminder that Russia will continue to try to interfere in our Democracy,” Schumer warned. “The administration needs to be far more vigilant in protecting the 2018 elections, and alert the American public any time the Russians attempt to interfere.”