The indictment marks the first charges against Russian nationals as part of Mueller’s probe into whether President Trump and/or his associates colluded with Russians during the 2016 elections.
President Donald Trump has said his 2016 U.S. presidential campaign “did nothing wrong”, as the Federal Bureau of Investigation brought charges against 13 Russians for alleged election meddling.
Rosenstein told a press conference that 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”.
Written by ex-British spy Steele and financed by the Democratic Party, the dossier has permeated the FBI and the Democrats’ investigations into possible Trump-Russia collusion. In July 2016, more than 80 employees were assigned to the project.
Analysts and journalists found that some of the accounts – such as the now-deleted and rabidly pro-Trump @TEN_GOP – accrued national followings and were retweeted by a range of figures as well as several members of Trump’s team, including ex-National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and one of Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr.
According to the federal charges, Russian operatives spread pro-Trump and anti-Clinton propaganda.
The IRA reportedly operated through Russian shell companies.
Lavrov also pointedly rejected the notion, as spelled out in the indictments, that Russian meddling was aimed at advancing the candidacy of President Trump.
The document offers stunning new detail about how 13 Russian agents stole the identities of American citizens to pose as political activists and post inflammatory messages about hot-button topics such as race and immigration to manipulate the campaign.
Russia’s Internet Research Agency “had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 United States presidential election”, the indictment said.
The group purchased ads on social media and other websites either “expressly advocating for the election of then-candidate Trump or expressly opposing Clinton”, the indictment said.
But Cotter said the narrative set forth in the indictment could easily include many more participants.
The sweeping indictment describes in detail an unprecedented campaign by Russian Federation to influence the 2016 presidential election, affirming the longstanding conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community.
The indictment quotes the accused Russians’ private conversations, a sure sign they were wiretapped. “If there was collusion, it would have been made known today”.
The Mueller indictment provides a comprehensive look at one such operation.
Russian Federation is also suspected of hacking and leaking embarrassing Democratic emails.
“From in or around 2014 to the present, Defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with person known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful function of the government through fraud and deceit for the objective of interfering with the US political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016”.
At times he has also taken Russian President Vladimir Putin’s word on the issue.
He was speaking at the Munich Security Conference hours after Mr Trump also appeared to concede the allegations were true.
Devin Nunez, now chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, pointed out Friday that the committee has investigated Russian “influence” on campaigns for “many years”.
On the other hand, now that the Russians have shown how this sort of campaign is done, the door is open for others – including American special interest groups – to use the same tactics to target disaffected voters in the right places, said David Gerzof Richard, a communications professor at Emerson College.