By Miriam Raftery
February 16, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – It’s official: Russia actively worked to sabotage American democracy and put Donald Trump in the White House.
Today, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller released copies of indictments filed against 13 Russians and three Russian entities on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and other charges ranging from bank fraud to identity theft in their quest to violate laws that prohibit foreigners from spending money to influence U.S. elections. Read the full indictment here.
The indictment language is damning, documenting how the Russian organization Internet Research Agency plotted “information warfare against the U.S.” paid for in Russian rubles at a budget of $1.25 million a month.
Russians posing as Americans used social media to post positive information on Trump and negative information, much of it false, disparaging other candidates opposing Trump including Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton. They also organized pro-Trump and anti-Clinton marches and rallies in the U.S.
They were aided by at least 100 U.S. citizens and and communicated with members of the Trump campaign, the indictment makes clear, and funneled illegal contributions into electing Trump. At least some of those contacts were "unwitting."
The Russian operation began in 2014, shortly after Trump visited Russia for the Miss World competition, and by 2016 and narrowed its focus to blatantly supporting Trump and disparaging his general election rival, Hillary Clinton.
The Russian operatives formed fake organizations to deceive U.S. voters, such as “Army of Jesus,” “Secured Borders” and “Blacktivist,” the indictement states. They promoted a “March for Trump” and a “Down with Hillary” rallies. They created Twitter tags such as #Hillary4Prison and Facebook groups such as “Trumpsters United,” posting messages on social media such as “We cannot trust Hillary to take care of our veterans.”
These operatives visited at least eight states including California and were advised by an unnamed American in Texas to focus their efforts on battleground states such as Florida, Colorado and Virginia. They also actively worked to suppress minority turnout, the investigation revealed.
They also destroyed evidence to impede the investigation, the indictment states, and stole identities of Americans to set up false identities and bank accounts to fund their illegal operations.
The indictment papers also reveal that Mueller has cut a deal with one person on identity theft charges, likely to obtain information and testimony against other conspirators.
No Russians have been arrested and those charged may be overseas, but being wanted by the U.S. government will make it difficult for them to travel or conduct international business, the New York Times reports.
The recent indictments add fuel to the Mueller investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. Previous indictments and guilty pleas have included Trump campaign and Trump administration officials.
Trump tweeted on the Russian indictments, “My campaign did nothing wrong, no collusion.”
Sure could have
moved this along had he shared his Tax filings instead of this long drawn out grift on the American people. So come on Donnie, put an end to the FBI wasting their time, show us your tax returns and prove your detractors wrong!
FAKE NEWS ?
A must read for anyone
A must read for anyone interested in this massive, covert propaganda effort.
Massive, covert propaganda effort
Why so many with Russian links on Trump campaign team?
There are plenty of mentions of Trump's campaign
in the indictment papers that I did read including emails between conspirators and the Trump campaign in Florida for instance.
We regularly do use the President's title in stories but not in this as the opening lead about putting Donald Trump in the White House we felt made his position obvious. No disrespect intended. I have no idea what "lies" Susan thinks are here -- there are none, and she doesn't cite a single example. Readers, please use critical thinking skills and avoid making claims that can't be backed up. We do correct errors if we make one, but I haven't had any inaccuracies shown here.
Our story is clearly accurate based on the indictment documents released by the special prosecutor.
Anyone not concerned that the President is being unduly influenced by a foreign party long perceived as an enemy of the U.S. isn't paying enough attention, frankly. Newsweek today reports that Vice President Penc was hand-picked by Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager who was an ally of Vladimir Putin and had previously worked to disrupt Ukranian elections. New charges were filed yeterday against Manafort who is already accused of failing to register as a foreign agent as well as money laundering and fraud. How is that NOT a big concern? Trump knew of his Russian loyalties when he brought him on as a volunteer campaign manager -- why wasn't he concerned about his loyalties?
And why did Trump refuse to impose sanctions against Russia that Congress enacted, the Republican controlled Congress, before the deadline?
Why has Trump regularly defended Vladimir Putin?
Why is this reader more concerned with whether we used the President's full title than with the very serious evidence documented by the special prosecutor making clear that it can no longer be considered "fake news" to say that the Russians tried to steal the election for Trump, and in fact they succeeded. Would he have been elected without the Russian propaganda masquerading as American groups? We'll never know, but the election was very close, so it likely was a key factor.
Real news cuts both ways
Less than half the story
The Rosenstein press conference has been conveniently left out
"There's no allegation that any American was knowingly involved in the conspiracy, Rosenstein said. Nor was there an allegation that the efforts of the defendants affected the outcome of the election. The indictment, he told reporters, is a reminder that "people are not always who they appear to be." He said the defendants wanted to undermine confidence in our democracy. "
shame on you for not reporting the WHOLE story
They also organized anti Trump rallies after the election , so obviously ALL who attended are russia agents?
The story was posted before the Rosenstein press conference
was held. It was based on the indictment documents. I can't report what hadn't happened yet.
With more information available, at least some who aided Russians are said to have been "unwitting" in those actions. It's not clear if that's the case with everyone, and reportedly more indictments are pending.
What is clear is that claims that Russia actively worked to influence the election cannot be dismissed as fake news. There's a lot of documentation that they did exactly that.
Trump's name appears throughout the documents though we don't yet know what if anything he knew personally.
Another interesting late-breaking development is a new charge being brought of bank fraud against Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager. Remember Manafort worked for the Russians doing Putin's bidding to disrupt a Ukranian election before he mysteriously decided to volunteer his services free for the Trump campaign. Why did he do that? Could it be that he was put there by Putin, too? There is a lot more to this scandal that has not yet been made public, based on numerous additional sealed indictments.