Russia is accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of trying to sabotage President Trump’s upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, condemning his indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence operatives for attempting to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as mere “mud-slinging.”
"Obviously, the goal of this 'mud-slinging' is to spoil the atmosphere before the Russian-American summit,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday, reports The Washington Examiner.
The indictments were handed down on Friday, just three days ahead of the Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki, Finland.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the charges Friday morning. When pressed about the timing, he said it was “a function of the collection of the facts, the evidence, the law and a determination that it was sufficient to present the indictment at this time.”
“People who speculate about federal indictments do not know all the relevant facts,” said Rosenstein.
The 29-page indictment charges 12 Russian hackers with conspiring to infiltrate networks used by the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and releasing stolen materials in an effort to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
Rosenstein during his announcement made clear that the indictment includes no allegation that any American was a knowing participant in the Russians' efforts and no allegation that the Russians succeeded in influencing the election results.
The White House issued a statement that the indictment is consistent with what President Trump has been saying all along – that there was no collusion between Russia and anyone on his campaign.
Many are criticizing the White House for not condemning the Russian government in its statement.
Trump has yet to comment on the indictments but has stated on multiple occasions that he will ask about election meddling during his meeting with Putin on Monday.
"I will absolutely, firmly ask the question," he said at a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday.
Several Democrats are calling on Trump to cancel the summit in lieu of the charges.