The special counsel investigating foreign interference in the 2016 US presidential election has accused 13 Russian nationals and several related organizations with committing fraud to support Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and sabotage his rival, Hillary Clinton.
The indictment below was issued today. It is unlikely to result in extradition of the individuals from Russia, but the document could lay the groundwork for charges against Americans for aiding and abetting their work, though no Americans are implicated in this document.
Its charges also provide new evidence for claims by US intelligence agencies that Russia attempted to manipulate US voters in 2016. Though it does not weigh in on how much the Russian propaganda effort altered the election, it says the messages reached “significant numbers of Americans.” The Internet Research Agency, the organization at the heart of the indictment, has been connected for years to internet security breaches on behalf of the Russian government.
The individuals named in the document stole US identities and created false online presences to spread political propaganda, even hosting their own rallies. One Twitter handle impersonating Tennessee’s Republican party attracted more than 100,000 followers. An internal message instructed the operators to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them).”
Read the entire indictment here: