White House opted for Russia indictments before Putin meeting

Posted at 6:37 PM, Jul 17, 2018

The White House told the Justice Department not to hold off on announcing the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers until after President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to sources familiar with the meeting.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein briefed Trump on July 9 about the forthcoming indictment before the President left on his European trip, according to the sources.

Justice Department officials were mindful of Trump's upcoming meeting with Putin and discussed the timing of the indictment with the President, but no decisions were made at the meeting.

After consultations between Trump and top White House officials, the White House told Justice not to hold off in announcing the indictment, the sources said.

Rosenstein made the announcement after the grand jury returned the indictment on Friday.

Bloomberg first reported the news.

In announcing the indictment last week, Rosenstein explained why the President was told about it in advance.

"It was important for the President to know what information we've uncovered because he's got to make very important decisions for the country, so he needs to understand what evidence we have of foreign election interference," Rosenstein said.