Special counsel Robert Mueller announced a grand jury had indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. The defendants, according to an indictment released by the Department of Justice, reveals that the defendants allegedly conducted “information warfare” against the United States to help Donald Trump win.
By early to mid-2016, the filing states, the defendants were “supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump … and disparaging Hillary Clinton.” The organization, known as the Internet Research Agency LLC, “sought, in part, to conduct what it called ‘information warfare against the United States of America’ through fictitious U.S. personas on social media platforms and other Internet-based media.”
With the help of a “Texas-based grassroots organization,” the Russian operatives determined which swing states to target.
from this #Mueller indictment:
— Jesse Lehrich (@JesseLehrich) February 16, 2018
The Russian defendants, according to the indictment, paid “US persons” to participate in Trump rallies around the nation. The Russians allegedly paid one American to dress up as Hillary Clinton in a prison uniform.
The Mueller indictment says that Russian "defendants and their co-conspirators" paid "US persons" to participate in rallies supporting Donald Trump. One American was even paid by the Russians to dress up as Hillary Clinton in a prison uniform.
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) February 16, 2018
CNN breaks it down:
Indictments issued against 13 Russian nationals over 2016 election interference.
Here’s how they did it:
– Posed as politically active Americans
– Purchased political ads on social media
— CNN (@CNN) February 16, 2018
This plot had been hatched years in advance. The indictment states: “By in or around May 2014, the organization’s strategy included interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with the stated goal of “spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”
A Justice Department source who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity said that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will announce the multiple indictments against Russian nationals and entities later this afternoon.
The individuals listed as charged are Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov, Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik, Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova, Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva, Sergey Pavlovich Polozov, Maria Anatolyevna Bovda, Robert Sergeyevich Bovda, Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly, Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev, Gleb Igorevitch Vasilchenko, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina, Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin and Vladimir Venkov.
The White House has not yet released a statement commenting on the indictment. President Donald Trump has repeatedly denied any insinuation that he or anyone who worked on his campaign colluded with Russian operatives.
You can read the complete indictment HERE.