Russian operatives stole identities, posed as Black Lives Matter activists and pushed allegations of voter fraud, the United States team prosecuting 13 Russians for alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election has said.
The charges include allegations the Russian nationals falsely posed as American citizens and stole American citizens' identities for the betterment of their operations.
"The defendants allegedly conducted what they called "information warfare" against the United States with the state goal of spreading distrust toward candidates and political system", said Rosenstein. They also controlled numerous Twitter groups that appeared to be controlled by USA people, such as "Tennessee GOP". "The House Intelligence Committee has been investigating these threats for many years: in 2014-the year the Russians began their operation targeting the 2016 elections-I warned about Russia's worldwide influence operations".
According to the indictment, the accused involved posed as Americans online, posted adverts against presidential Clinton and organised pro-Trump political rallies within the US. But the Americans did not know they were communicating with Russians.
The 37-page indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities charges that the Russians stole the identities of USA persons to deceptively "communicate with unwitting members, volunteers, and supporters of the Trump campaign involved in local community outreach". Mr. Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had been charged in connection with Mr. Mueller's investigation. All were charged with conspiracy to defraud the USA, three with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and five with aggravated identity theft.
Amid an investigation that's been ongoing for the better part of a year, on February 16, the first Russian charges were brought in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into meddling in the 2016 election.
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Though the indictment lays out a vast and wide-ranging effort to sway political opinion during the presidential primaries and the bitterly contested general election, it does not allege that any American or Trump campaign associate knowingly participated.
According to the indictment, the Russians ran a well-funded effort to sow political discord in the United States in advance of the 2016 election by creating hundreds of fake social media accounts that were supportive of Trump and critical of Hillary Clinton.
By 2016, the project was focused on the USA election. At one point in the indictment, the feds quote an email from one of the Russians, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina, in which she said: "We had a slight crisis here at work: the Federal Bureau of Investigation busted our activity (not a joke)". Today's indictment has a lot to say about the first part, Russian meddling.
They visited Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, and NY to gather intelligence, and told the State Department it was just for funsies.
Remember; the special counsel's assignment is really twofold.
"Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally entitled "Charlotte Against Trump" in Charlotte, North Carolina, held on or about November 19, 2016", the indictment said.