White House officials are furious that special counsel Robert Mueller dropped new grand jury indictments against 12 Russian military officials ahead of President Donald Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The summit is set for July 16 in Helsinki, and plans for their meeting do not appear to be slowing down despite the new revelations.
“It’s a big FU from Mueller,” a White House official said in an interview with Politico. He added that Mueller’s timing “wasn’t an accident.”
Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser said it was not a “smart move.”
“This is just one more case of political malpractice,” he said. “These guys all deserve to be indicted and deserve to be convicted. But to do it the Friday before the Monday meeting? Not so smart.”
John Dean, the former President Richard Nixon White House counsel, said the timing would force President Trump to comfort Putin’s about his military officials meddling into the 2016 presidential elections.
“The timing is no accident,” he said. “It forces Trump to confront Putin. If he fails to do so, he is admitting guilt. This story will now consume U.S. news, and blows up Trump’s claim it is all a witch hunt and hoax.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said the release of the indictments were just a formality and that he briefed President Trump about the new charges earlier this week.
Rosenstein said the timing of the indictments were: “a function of the collection of the facts, the evidence, and the law and a determination that it was sufficient to present the indictment at this time.”