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With Russia Indictments, Rod Rosenstein Steps Into The Spotlight

Apart for obligatory congressional hearings, deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has tried to stay out of the limelight as much as possible since taking office. Perhaps for good reason. After all, he already serves as the Trump administration’s lightening rod and frequently tops the list of officials said to be about to be booted by the president. Extra attention could only hurt.

But on Friday Rosenstein stood in front of the cameras to announce a bombshell indictment of 13 Russian nationals accused of meddling in the 2016 elections. Rosenstein presented details describing how the Russians posed as U.S. citizens in their attempts to sway the election outcome and assist rivals of Hillary Clinton.

While the indictment clearly disproves Trump’s repeated claim that there was no Russian meddling in the elections, Rosenstein may stand to win grace with the president, since he seemed to downplay any American political players from cooperating in this specific Russian interference attempt.

“There’s no allegation in this indictment that any American had any knowledge, and the nature of the scheme,” Rosenstein said.

This was enough for Trump, who tweeted shortly after Rosenstein’s press conference: “Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President.” And the president’s conclusion: “The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter @nathanguttman

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