Published: Sat, February 17, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Russian nationals indicted for interfering in U.S. elections

Russian nationals indicted for interfering in U.S. elections

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein officially announced the indictment from the DOJ headquarters Friday.

"There is no allegation that any American is a knowing participant", Mr. Rosenstein said.

As for altering the outcome of the election, who can say?

As soon as Trump was elected, the Russians began working to undermine him and sow further discord, the indictment says.

Trump himself has been reluctant to acknowledge the meddling.

Trump notes that the Russian influence campaign is alleged to have started in 2014, "long before" he declared his candidacy. "The results of the election were not impacted". Trump has denied any collusion or obstruction.

The indictment offers extraordinary allegations of just how much interference there was. Prigozhin is on the list of those sanctioned by the U.S.

They "falsely claimed to be controlled by USA activists when, in fact, they were controlled by defendants". It also claims the defendants staged political rallies and bought political advertising while posing as grassroots entities. It says Russians created bogus Internet postings, posed online as American political activists and fraudulently purchased advertisements - all with the goal of swaying political opinion during the bitterly contested race.

"Thirteen people interfered in the United States elections?!"

"(Thirteen) people intervened in the elections in the USA?" she wrote on her Facebook page.

"This is modern American political reality", she added in the post. In the latter half of 2016, they used groups to discourage minorities from voting in the 2016 presidential election.

The indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the USA, charges three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and charges five defendants with aggravated identity theft.

Some of the operators traveled to the US on intelligence-collecting missions, and set up computer systems in the U.S.to avoid having their activities traced back to Russian Federation. " "This writing should serve as a reminder that people are not always who y seem to be on Internet".

Not all of this work was done from the safety of Russia over the internet, as the feds say some of the 13 Russians named in this indictment actually traveled to the U.S. According to the Department of Justice, the IRA operated through Russian shell companies and operated with an annual budget in the millions of dollars.

The interference campaign was part of a larger operation known as "Project Lakhta".

A Kremlin spokesman said he was not yet familiar with the USA indictment.

The indictment was brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the matter.

Russian politicians have declared the indictment "another anti-Russian push".

"This is only the social media side things", he said.

None of the 13 Russian suspects are in U.S. custody. It is not known whether any of the 13 are in custody-or whether US law enforcement officials know their current whereabouts.

Two of the firms are said to have Russian government contracts.

Even more, the indictment says "unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign" communicated with the defendants who were "posing as us persons".

The Russians reached out to a still-unnamed campaign official at Trump's campaign website to get information on how it was organizing rallies in Florida and NY. Russian agents also allegedly paid for rally organizers to hire an actress to play Hillary Clinton wearing a prison uniform.

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