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Mueller Indicts 13 Russians For Election Violations – Its Not A Hoax

2/17/2018

President Trump no longer claims that Russian interference in the 2016 elections is a hoax.  He no longer claims that it is a fabrication.  Not after Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller today indicted 13 Russians for conspiracy to defraud the United States. The indictment lists in detail the activities of Russians doing their best to interfere in the elections.  In addition, three defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.

Mueller did not appear to announce the charges.  That duty was left to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein instead.  "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," Rosenstein said.

Mueller had convened a grand jury as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as any possible connections between Russia and Trump campaign associates.

The sweeping indictment describes in detail an unprecedented campaign by Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, affirming the longstanding conclusions of the US intelligence community. It is at odds with President Donald Trump's repeated questioning of those conclusions, which has continued throughout his first year in office.

Beginning as early as 2014, the Russian organization Internet Research Agency began operations to interfere with the US political system, including the 2016 elections, according to the indictment.

The indictment mentions a February 2016 memo to Internet Research Agency staff telling them to post political content on US social media sites and "use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them)." The reference to Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who challenged Clinton for the Democratic nomination, shows that the Russian government decided early on to oppose Clinton.  Twelve of the 13 defendants charged worked for the Internet Research Agency.  Rosenstein said Friday that the indictment does not contain any allegations that any Americans knowingly participated in the activity.
 
The indictment does describe communications between unnamed Trump campaign officials and the Russian defendants (page 27).  The three campaign officials, identified only as campaign officials 1, 2 and 3, were involved in the Trump campaign's Florida operation, the indictment says. On at least three occasions, as detailed in the indictment, American personas created by the defendants wrote to the campaign officials, in some instances about rallies they were organizing.  In one instance, a Russian persona wrote to one Florida campaign official identifying 13 "confirmed locations" where they would be holding rallies in the state and asked the campaign to provide "assistance in each location," according to the indictment.
 
The full indictment can be found here:  Indictment of 13 Russians
 
Rosenstein's Announcement:
 
 

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