House Speaker Paul Ryan Monday sidestepped questions on the indictments of former Trump campaign head Paul Manafort and associate Rick Gates.
The Janesville Republican said because hadn’t read the indictments he wouldn’t comment further.
Still, Ryan conceded it was “big news” the two were indicted this morning on a series of charges in an investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“It is big news, but this is what you get from a special counsel,” he said at a stop in Darien. “They’ve made an indictment. I really have nothing to add because I haven’t even read it so I’m not going to speculate on something I haven’t read, so there’s just no point of doing that.”
Ryan earlier in the day also dodged questions on the topic from conservative talk show host Jerry Bader, saying Congress was busy “working on solving people’s problems.”
Still, he told Bader he didn’t expect the indictments to “derail” the GOP tax overhaul plan or other Republican legislative agenda items.
A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said the indictments don’t change the Oshkosh Republican’s view that Mueller “should resign” as special counsel.
Johnson on Friday told The Racine Journal Times Editorial Board that Mueller should step down because of a previous FBI investigation of Russian nuclear officials receiving bribes to purchase uranium from the U.S. while Mueller was director.
Johnson also cited the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, saying its goal was “primarily to exonerate” and that Mueller is “too close to” former FBI Director James Comey.
Asked if the indictments change anything, the Johnson spokesman responded that “day to day developments” don’t affect Johnson’s opinion Mueller was appointed too early in the process — or his “overall concern that this investigation cannot tolerate even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”
“Mr. Mueller is simply too close to James Comey and the FBI as questions continue to surface about their roles in matters the special counsel may be investigating,” the spokesman said.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, meanwhile, said in a tweet the investigation must go on.
“Serious indictments from independent Special Prosecutor Mueller,” she wrote. “Investigation must continue unobstructed and reveal the truth.”