Special counsel Robert Mueller has charged Russian nationals and organizations with interfering in the 2016 presidential election, including the use of identity theft and fake social media accounts in their efforts to support President Donald Trump and damage the campaign of Hillary Clinton, according to the Justice Department.
- 13 Russian nationals working for the organization Internet Research Agency were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States
- Three of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud
- Five of the defendants were charged with aggravated identity theft
About the charges
Here are some excerpts from the indictment:
“From in or around 2014 to the present, Defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.”
“Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences. These groups and pages, which addressed divisive U.S. and political and social issues, falsely claimed to be controlled by U.S. activists when, in fact, they were controlled by Defendants.”
“Defendant ORGANIZATION had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments Friday afternoon in a news conference, CNN reports.