Sunday, 18 August, 2019

Russian FM Dismisses as 'Blabber' US Charges of Meddling in 2016 Elections

Russian FM Dismisses as 'Blabber' US Charges of Meddling in 2016 Elections Russian FM Dismisses as 'Blabber' US Charges of Meddling in 2016 Elections
Patty Aguilar | 21 February, 2018, 22:11

When asked to comment on the charges at the gathering in Germany, Lavrov stressed that USA officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, had in the past "denied that any country influenced results of the election".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also pushed back, saying he viewed the allegations as "just blather".

The U.S. indictments on Friday said a Russian propaganda arm oversaw a criminal and espionage conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to support Donald Trump and disparage his rival, Hillary Clinton.

The detailed document presented the most compelling public evidence to date that the Russian operation was elaborate, expensive and real.

Despite the vehement Russian denials, US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, speaking in Munich immediately after Lavrov, said "evidence" of such attempts to "interfere in our democratic process" would become harder to hide. "You can publish anything, and we see those indictments multiplying, the statements multiplying".

McMaster also noted that special counsel Robert Mueller's team had shown that the USA was becoming "more and more adept at tracing the origins of this espionage and subversion". While no charges to date have explicitly linked Trump and Russian Federation, the indictment outlines an active effort by the defendants to boost Trump's visibility and viability as a candidate while at the same time inflicting damage on those running against him.

McMaster's comments came at a global security conference to try to rally Western allies against common enemies, offering an olive branch to United States partners that have often felt battered and neglected in the age of Trump.

Shortly after charges were announced, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to suggest that these charges were evidence of "no collusion!" between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign staff.

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The indictments made no judgement however on whether the alleged Russian efforts had altered the outcome of the election.

Former Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak was equally dismissive when he took to the stage at the top security gathering in Munich. Kislyak's name has come up in the FBI and congressional investigations of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

"I have never done anything of this sort, no one in my embassy did", he said during a panel discussion at the Munich conference.

"Whatever allegations are being mounted against us are simply fantasies that are being used for political reasons inside the United States", he said.

Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty in December to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his conversations with Kislyak before Trump's inauguration.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denounced the allegations as "absurd" and ridiculed the notion that so few Russian nationals could undermine US democracy.

Butler reported from Washington.

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