Trump says 'no collusion' after Russians indicted for election meddling

US President Donald Trump on Friday held up the indictment of 13 Russians -- and no Americans -- for meddling in the 2016 election as vindication that his campaign team did not collude with Moscow.

AFP February 17, 2018 02:11:27 IST
Trump says 'no collusion' after Russians indicted for election meddling

US President Donald Trump on Friday held up the indictment of 13 Russians -- and no Americans -- for meddling in the 2016 election as vindication that his campaign team did not collude with Moscow.

"Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for president," Trump tweeted, pointing to details of the indictment as evidence of his name being cleared.

"The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong - no collusion!"

Trump says no collusion after Russians indicted for election meddling

Trump on his way out of Washington as the long weekend looms and the Mueller bombshell breaks/ REUTERS

The Russian foreign ministry on Friday dismissed as "absurd" the indictments of 13 Russians by the United States.

"Thirteen people carried out interference in the US elections? Thirteen against the billion-dollar budgets of the special forces? Against the espionage and counter-espionage, against the newest developments and technologies?", foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook.

"Absurd? Yes. But this is the modern American political reality," she added, in the first official reaction from Moscow.

The businessman who tops the list of those indicted, Yevgeny Prigozhin, also made light of the indictments in comments to RIA Novosti state news agency.

"Americans are very impressionable people. They see what they want to see. I have great respect for them. I am not at all upset that I am in this list. If they want to see a devil, let them," he said.

Prigozhin is nicknamed President Vladimir Putin's "chef" by Russian media and runs a company that has catered for Kremlin receptions. He has been photographed with the strongman and his company Konkord is subject to US sanctions.

He has been linked by Russian media to a "troll factory" in Saint Petersburg working to spread pro-Kremlin propaganda online. He has denied meddling in US politics.

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