USA charges Russian for conspiracy to interfere in elections

U.S. Charges Russian for Conspiracy to Interfere in ElectionsMore

U.S. Charges Russian for Conspiracy to Interfere in ElectionsMore

Using social media and other avenues, the conspiracy participants waged "information warfare against the United States", attempting to sow distrust of candidates for US political office and the USA political system, according to the complaint.

An array of issues, such as immigration, gun control and the NFL national anthem debate, were allegedly brought up in online discussions by the conspirators, who were told "to create "political intensity through supporting radical groups" and to 'aggravate the conflict between minorities and the rest of the population, '" the news release said.

Khusyaynova allegedly managed the financing of Project Lakhta operations, including foreign influence activities directed at the United States.

The Justice Department unsealed the criminal complaint on the same day that US intelligence agencies, in a rare public statement, asserted that Russia, China, Iran and other countries are engaged in continuous efforts to influence American policy and voters in the upcoming elections and beyond.

The concerned about the campaigns "to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies", the officials said in a joint statement.

Intelligence officials said previous year that Russian Federation sought to influence the 2016 presidential election through similar means. The statement, which provided no details about any such efforts, said, "These activities also may seek to influence voter perceptions and decision-making in the 2018 and 2020 USA elections".

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Referring to Khusyaynova, the Justice Department said, "The financial documents she controlled include detailed expenses for activities in the United States, such as expenditures for activists, advertisements on social media platforms, registration of domain names, the purchase of proxy servers, and promoting news postings on social networks".

Federal prosecutors in Virginia said Khusyaynova's work was part of an effort orchestrated by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, an oligarch known as "Putin's chef" who has already been charged for interference in the 2016 election.

In July, 12 Russians were charged with hacking Democratic Party emails during the 2016 USA presidential election.

They statement did not provide specific examples of foreign interference. What remains to be seen is how and whether Mueller can connect President Trump or his campaign to those efforts.

The Russian operatives discussed how to influence public opinion.

Former FBI Director James B. Comey faced criticism for talking publicly on the eve of the election about the bureau resuming its investigation of Hillary Clinton, while keeping secret the separate probe into possible ties between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. Trump also signed an executive order last month authorizing additional sanctions against countries or people who interfere in US elections, though some lawmakers say the measure does not go far enough.

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