President Donald Trump and the White House on Friday lauded the indictment of 13 Russian nationals on charges of interfering in the 2016 presidential election, insisting it showed there was "no collusion" between Moscow and his presidential campaign.
The statements, however, did not address some of the most alarming allegations included in the indictment — including that Russian nationals actively supported Trump's campaign and disparaged Hillary Clinton through an elaborate conspiracy that used social media, alleged bank fraud and identity theft.
Neither Trump nor the White House statement made any mention of punishing Russia or suggested measures to prevent election interference in the future.
The indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller doesn't address the issue of collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow, even though Trump and the White House made the topic the center of their responses.
"The Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion!" Trump tweeted shortly after the indictment was released by Mueller's office.
There is no indication that Mueller's investigation has reached its end.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement along the same lines.
"President Donald J. Trump has been fully briefed on this matter and is glad to see the Special Counsel’s investigation further indicates — that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected," Sanders said, using capital letters for emphasis.
Sanders then quoted Trump in saying that it was "more important than ever before to come together as Americans" and that "we cannot allow those seeking to sow confusion, discord, and rancor to be successful."
"It’s time we stop the outlandish partisan attacks, wild and false allegations, and far-fetched theories, which only serve to further the agendas of bad actors, like Russia, and do nothing to protect the principles of our institutions," Sanders wrote, attributing the line to the president. "We must unite as Americans to protect the integrity of our democracy and our elections."
In announcing the indictment earlier Friday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made clear that the "there is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity" or that allegation in the indictment that any of the "conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election."
The indictment also featured new details about the extent of Russian interference efforts, including the development that the defendants allegedly stole the identities of American citizens to help fund their meddling operations and the development that defendants allegedly used fake social media accounts to organize and coordinate pro-Trump political rallies, including several on Aug., 20, 2016.
A short time earlier, John Dowd, the president's outside lawyer, also lauded the indictments.
"Very happy for our country. Bob (Mueller) and his team did a great job," Dowd told NBC News.