US President Donald Trump has hit out at suggestions that Russia helped him win the presidency, and claimed that a new federal indictment showed no evidence of collusion between his 2016 election campaign and Moscow.
Trump tweeted: "Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein stated at the News Conference: "There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election."
The Republican also quoted a Facebook executive, Rob Goldman, as tweeting: "I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal."
Former CIA operations officer Evan McMullin responded: "This Facebook executive argues that Moscow's primary goal was to divide Americans, not help Trump. But dividing populations is an essential part of the Kremlin's playbook for installing friendly, corrupt leaders in other countries. It's critical for @Facebook to understand this."
Earlier, top Russian and American officials exchanged barbs in Germany over the US indictment of 13 Russians.
H R McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, said at the Munich Security Conference that the federal indictments showed the US was becoming "more and more adept at tracing the origins of this espionage and subversion" and "the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain".
Just minutes before, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had dismissed the indictments as "just blabber".
The indictment brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller represents the most detailed allegations to date of illegal Russian meddling. It charged 13 Russians with running a huge but hidden social media trolling campaign aimed in part at helping Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.