Special counsel indicts Russian nationals for interfering with U.S. elections and political processes
WASHINGTON – Special counsel Robert Mueller filed his first criminal charges against Russian nationals and businesses on Friday for what he called a wide-ranging effort to undermine the 2016 presidential election, including by "supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump."
Notice how they claimed the Russians were supporting Trump. But when we listened to Rod Rosenstein, we hear him saying no Americans were involved in this attempt to corrupt the election.
Rest of the report:
The indictment charges 13 Russian nationals and three businesses – including an internet firm tied to the Kremlin – with conspiracy, identity theft, and failing to register as foreign agents.
In the indictment, Mueller charged that some of the Russians, posing as Americans, "communicated with unwitting individuals" associated with Trump's 2016 campaign "to seek to coordinate political activities."
The charges are the government's most detailed accounting to date of an effort by Russian operatives to sow distrust in the U.S. political system and to influence the outcome of the presidential election.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that the charges do not allege that the operation "altered the outcome of the election." Nor, he said, does it suggest that any Americans knew they were dealing with Russian operatives.
The charges are the latest salvo in Mueller's investigation of Russian election interference. Last year, prosecutors brought charges against four people tied to Trump's campaign, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his ex-national security adviser Mike Flynn.
Prosecutors allege that the Russian Internet Research Agency and others spread messages on social media to promote Trump's candidacy and to criticize his political rival Hillary Clinton. They also alleged that some of the Russian operatives organized rallies supporting Trump and traveled to the United States to gather information.
Other parts of the operation appeared more focused on picking at Americans' political divisions. After Trump was elected, Rosenstein said, the Russian operatives organized competing rallies on the same day both supporting and opposing him.