GOP cautious, Dems strident in reaction to new indictments

Congressional Democrats and some Republicans said Friday that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 ClintonPompeo: 'We've not been successful' in changing US-Russia relations Michael Moore ties Obama to Trump's win in Michigan in 2016 The Memo: Could Kavanaugh furor spark another ‘year of the woman’? 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 RyanHow does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act GOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign 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 YoderMother used in ad attacking Kansas Dem candidate is state GOP official To save asylum seekers we must save our immigration courts GOP super PAC hits Dem House hopeful as 'Pelosi liberal' in new Kansas ad 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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act Internal RNC poll shows Pelosi is more popular than Trump: report 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 TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her 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 SchiffKey House Dem's objections stall intel bill as deadline looms The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh and his accuser will testify publicly Russia probe accelerates political prospects for House Intel Dems 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 Jay RosensteinFormer federal prosecutor joins Kavanaugh accuser's legal team Dem warns Trump: 'Obstruction of justice' to fire Rosenstein FBI group defends agents amid Trump’s attacks 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 WarnerKey House Dem's objections stall intel bill as deadline looms Russia docs order sets Trump on collision with intel community Hillicon Valley: North Korean IT firm hit with sanctions | Zuckerberg says Facebook better prepared for midterms | Big win for privacy advocates in Europe | Bezos launches B fund to help children, homeless 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 SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation 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.”