President Donald Trump was briefed about indictments related to Russian interference in the 2016 election on Friday.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein filled the president in before Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller office's announced the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities, a White House official told NBC News. The Justice Department alleges the defendants shared information and organized political activities to sow discord, support Trump's campaign and disparage his 2016 rival Hillary Clinton.
The indictment neither alleges that Americans knowingly aided the Russian effort, nor does it say if the efforts to interfere affected the election's outcome, Rosenstein said. That applies to the specific indictment Friday.
In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted that the Justice Department said the Russian effort started in 2014.
"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," the statement said.
A statement attributed to Trump added: "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."
Trump has repeatedly called Mueller's Russia investigation a "witch hunt" and a "hoax." He has contended it is an excuse for Democrats to cover up losing the presidential election.
The probe is looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow during the election. Trump has repeatedly denied any cooperation.
The president himself had no immediate public reaction to the announcement of the indictments.
Some bipartisan members of Congress have criticized Trump for not taking a tough enough stance on alleged Russian meddling in the election. Earlier this year, the Trump administration chose not to impose additional sanctions on Moscow despite Congress passing a law to set new sanctions.
The State Department contended that the law itself acted as a deterrent.