Mueller Releases Indictments Against 13 Russians in 2016 Election Investigation

This week, the office of special counsel Robert Mueller – the team responsible for leading the high-profile investigation into Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 midterm elections – released its indictment of thirteen Russians, at least one of whom has direct ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The 37-page indictment details a complex scheme years in the making, intended “to interfere with the US. political system, including the 2016 US. presidential election.”

Among the charges, which include charges for obstruction of justice, are several especially notable details. The indictment notes the thirteen defendents posed “as US. persons and creating false U.S. personas” and “operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences.” The social media profiles “addressed divisive US. political and social issues” and “falsely claimed to be controlled by US. Activists.”

The defendants are also accused of using “the stolen identities of real U.S. persons to post on social media accounts” which, over time, became the chosen “means to reach significant numbers of Americans for purposes of interfering with the US. political system, including the presidential election of 2016.”

The goal of the effort was “to sow discord in the US. political system, including the 2016 US. 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 and disparaging Hillary Clinton. Defendants made various expenditures to carry out those activities, including buying political advertisements on social media in the names of US. persons and entities.”
 

 

 

 

 

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