Fox News host Shepard Smith said Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller's string of indictments against Russian operatives for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is a stark demonstration that the probe into Kremlin election interference is "the opposite of a hoax."
Smith's declaration was a pointed dig at Donald Trump's often-repeated complaint that the Mueller probe is a "hoax," a witch hunt, or "fake news" concocted by the media.
"If there was ever any question - even a single question - there is no more. Russia attacked the United States of America," Smith said on "Shepard Smith Reporting." He called it a "coordinated, government-sponsored campaign to undermine American democracy."
The Russians "infiltrated our system, manipulated us on behalf of Vladimir Putin, and they did it online and in person, on our soil," Smith added.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Friday that 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations were indicted on several charges for their alleged attempts to interfere in the election to support Trump and hurt his opponent Hillary Clinton. The Russians are charged with posing as Americans to stage fake political rallies, create fake social media accounts and buy political ads. The budget for the operations was more than $1.25 million a month shortly before the election, according to the indictments.
In one case, according to the indictments, Russians reached out to "unwitting" people associated with the Trump campaign.
One Twitter account allegedly run by the Russians, @TEN_GOP, tweeted to Trump last year: "We love you Mr. President." Trump retweeted to his millions of followers and responded: "So nice, thank you!"
The president's son Donald Trump Jr. also retweeted several messages from the account and others allegedly operated by Russians.
Trump said in a tweet after the indictments were announced that election results were "not impacted" - which Rosenstein did not say at his press conference. Trump added: "The Trump campaign did nothing wrong - no collusion!"
But Twitter users weren't buying it.
The investigation is ongoing.