After special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday announced that 13 Russian individuals and three Russian entities have been indicted as part of the federal Russia probe, top Democrats in Congress said the indictment shows the importance of letting the investigations into Russian election meddling continue uninhibited.
The lengthy indictment from Mueller’s grand jury lays out how Russians systematically worked to interfere in the 2016 election by setting up social media accounts and posing as Americans.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the panel’s work investigating Russia’s use of social media to spread disinformation was “vindicated today by the Special Counsel’s indictment” of a Russian troll farm.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that 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.”
House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said that the indictment undermines President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the idea that Russians tried to help him win the 2016 election is a “hoax.”
“For all of those who have been asking ‘where is the evidence of a crime?’—this is it. This is the criminal conspiracy. This is what President Trump and his allies have repeatedly called a ‘hoax’ and ‘fake news.’ This is what they tried to cover up,” Cummings said in a statement. “This is what we might never have known if President Trump had been successful in shutting down this investigation.”
He said that Mueller’s probe “is still ongoing.”
“We don’t know what the next step will be,” Cummings said. “We all must support his ability to complete his investigation independently and prevent anyone from undercutting or interfering with his continued work.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that Friday’s indictment shows it is “imperative that the Special Counsel investigation be allowed to continue to follow the facts on the Trump-Russia scandal, unhindered by the White House or Republicans in Congress.”
“As desperately as President Trump insists that the Special Counsel investigation is a ‘hoax’, these latest indictments build on multiple guilty pleas and indictments of several Trump campaign officials, demonstrating the gravity of the Trump-Russia scandal,” Pelosi said in a statement.
And Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) emphasized that the indictment shows the U.S. must work to prevent further Russian election meddling.
“The indictments are also a reminder that Russia will continue to try to interfere in our Democracy,” he said. “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.”