Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, called the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Friday indictments of Russian nationals for U.S. election interference “evidence” of a crime President Trump “tried to cover up.”
“For all of those who have been asking ‘where is the evidence of a crime?’ — this is it. This is the criminal conspiracy,” Cummings said in a statement published on Twitter. “This is what President Trump and his allies have repeatedly called a ‘hoax’ and ‘fake news.’ This is what they tried to cover up.”
“This is what we might never have known if President Trump had been successful in shutting down this investigation,” he added.
The Maryland Congressman said the charges “show precisely how the Russians worked to help the Trump campaign, in startling and extensive detail.”
Cummings also highlighted how the Russian groups and nationals had allegedly taken steps to try and suppress the minority vote during the 2016 election.
He called for Congress to take steps to help protect Mueller and his investigation.
“We all must support his ability to complete his investigation independently and prevent anyone from undercutting or interfering with his continued work,” Cummings said.
Elijah Cummings on Russia indictments:
“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." pic.twitter.com/yObB2pdcF3
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) February 16, 2018
Mueller charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups with interfering with the 2016 U.S. election on Friday.
“Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump (“Trump campaign”) and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” the indictment reads. “Defendants made various expenditures to carry out those activities, including buying political advertisements on social media in the names of U.S. persons and entities.”
Trump has repeatedly attacked Mueller’s probe as a “witch hunt.”
Mueller has sought an interview with Trump in the investigation. Trump has said that he would be open to sitting down with the special counsel, but that the final decision would be made by his attorneys. Trump’s legal team is reportedly advising him not to a take part in an interview over fears that he would be “caught in a lie.”