In a statement that is sending shockwaves through the political world, a spokesman for General Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe announced on Friday that the counsel's 37-page indictment of Russians and Russian entities for interference in U.S. elections does not contain any allegation against any American for knowingly participating in the meddling.
"There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said at a press conference on Friday.
Rosenstein also underscored that the investigation found no evidence that the alleged Russian meddling impacted the 2016 election, a common claim of many Democrats, including Hillary Clinton.
"There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election," Rosenstein told reporters.
The indictment singles out 13 Russians and three Russian entities for "allegedly conduct[ing] what they called 'information warfare' against the United States," Rosenstein explained. That alleged "information warfare" was conducted between 2014 and 2016.
Rosenstein made the comment in response to one reporter asking him about references to the Trump campaign in the indictment. "On page four of the indictment, paragraph six, it specifically talks about the Trump campaign, saying that defendants communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign," said the reporter. "My question is later in the indictment, campaign officials are referenced not by their name, by campaign official one or two or three. Were campaign officials cooperative or were they duped? What was their relationship with this?"
"There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in the alleged unlawful activity," Rosenstein responded. "There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election."
As Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro puts it, the special counsel's indictment just seriously undercut the key premise of the Russia collusion narrative. Here's a section from the indictment on Russian sources' attempts to contact the Trump campaign:
Some Defendants, posing as US persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.
"Collusion only counts if you know you’re soliciting help from foreign sources," writes Shapiro. "Those involved with the Trump campaign apparently didn't. That blows a rather large hole in the theory that the Russians were working hand-in-glove with Trump campaign officials."