The Russian government responded to bombshell allegations against three individuals linked the Donald Trump presidential campaign with the same argument as the White House: This has nothing to do with us.
"We are closely following the ongoing investigation in the U.S., which is its internal affair. Judging by what we read in media reports and saw in the statements made by the participants in the trial, so far, Russia is not mentioned in the charges that have been brought, while other countries and people are mentioned there. Anyway, we would not like to be involved in these processes, and we hope that they will not contribute to efforts to whip up the Russophobic hysteria, which is already sky high," Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters today, according to Russia's TASS news service. "Any accusations against American citizens as part of domestic U.S. investigations are not related to us, this is the internal case of the U.S."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders made a similar argument several times when questioned by reporters Monday about the indictment [PDF] filed against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and campaign advisor Rick Gates -- in which Russia is mentioned, if obliquely -- and the announcement of a guilty plea by former campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos for lying to investigators in the Russia probe.
"Today's announcement has nothing to do with the President, has nothing to do with the President's campaign or campaign activity," Sanders said. As for Papadopoulos, Sanders said, "It has nothing to do with the activities of the campaign. It has to do with his failure to tell the truth. That doesn't have anything to do with the campaign or the campaign's activities."
On Twitter, Trump said that the alleged wrongdoing by Manafort and Gates happened "years ago," long before the two joined the campaign, and said Papadopoulos was a "young, low level volunteer."
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