GOP cautious, Dems strident in reaction to new indictments

Congressional Democrats and some Republicans said Friday that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump 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 ClintonDOJ backs ex-Trump campaign aide Rick Gates's probation request The media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Trump request for Ukrainian 'favor' tops notable quote list 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 RyanHouse Ethics Committee informs Duncan Hunter he can no longer vote after guilty plea Duncan Hunter pleads guilty after changing plea Trump campaign steps up attacks on Biden 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 YoderFeehery: How Republicans can win back the suburbs K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Kansas Senate race splits wide open without Pompeo 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 PelosiSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate Tech legal shield included in USMCA despite late Pelosi push GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' 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 TrumpSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate US sending 20,000 troops to Europe for largest exercises since Cold War Barr criticizes FBI, says it's possible agents acted in 'bad faith' in Trump probe 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 SchiffCBS's Major Garrett: Democrats walking away from bribery, extortion allegations against Trump 'in full public view' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — House Dems charge Trump with abuse, obstruction of Congress in impeachment articles Trump, White House rip Democrats over impeachment articles 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 RosensteinRosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Judge rules former WH counsel McGahn must testify under subpoena 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 WarnerTikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Watchdog report finds FBI not motivated by political bias in Trump probe Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat 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 SchumerKrystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments 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.”