Mueller Indicts 13 Russians For 2016 Election Interference
By: Kayla Pasacreta
It's Mueller time! Special counsel Robert Mueller announced today that his team has criminally charged 13 Russians and 3 Russian entities with election interference. The Department of Justice announced the official charges are "conspiracy to defraud the United States."
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated, "The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States, with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general." The indictment says that the Russian nationals sought to influence the election directly through social media platforms and fake personas to wage "information warfare" against the United States.
“Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton. Some Defendants, posing as US persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign.”
— KEY EXCERPT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE'S INDICTMENT
The indictment also reveals that Russian figures started conspiring their election interference in 2014, through a Russian operation called Internet Research Agency. The Russians used an interesting tactic to ensure a particularly divisive election, by orchestrating groups for Trump and also groups titled "Trump is NOT my president", to heighten racial tensions in the country.
“After the election of Donald Trump in or around November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies in support of the president-elect Trump, while simultaneously using other false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies protesting the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. For example, in or around November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally in new York through on ORGANIZATION-controlled group designed to “show your support for President-Elect Donald Trump” held on or about November 12, 2016. At the same time, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through another ORGANIZATION-controlled group, organized a rally in New York called “Trump is NOT my President” held on or about November 12, 2016. Similarly, Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally entitled “Charlotte Against Trump” in Charlotte, North Caroline, held on or about November 19, 2016. ”
— THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Former Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted that these findings are huge: