Trump crows as United States indicts 13 Russians for election interference

Pauline Gross
February 18, 2018

The federal indictment brought Friday by USA special counsel Robert Mueller represents the most detailed allegations to date of illegal Russian meddling during the campaign that sent Donald Trump to the White House.

Trump took to Twitter to sustain his camp's innocence but mentioned that the Russian anti-US campaign had been going on since 2014, long before he announced his candidature. "People who want to put forward the Russian Federation story - many of them will see this as vindication".

Senator Dianne Feinstein said the indictment reveals, for the first time, that both Russians and Americans were allegedly involved in this sophisticated attack on USA democracy. But details were very sketchy. Now there are concrete charges that Russians defrauded the United States government, with memos and other evidence to back up the allegations.

But it does lay out a vast and wide-ranging Russian effort to sway political opinion in the United States through a strategy that involved creating internet postings in the names of Americans whose identities had been stolen; staging political rallies while posing as American political activists and paying people in the promote or disparage candidates. That's what we allegedly have here.

The Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg-based troll phalanx, bought propaganda-laden online ads, created social media accounts "that appeared to be operated by USA persons" and researched topics that Americans were interested in, the indictment states.

Moreover, the @TEN_GOP account, later linked to the Russians, "falsely claimed to be controlled by a US state political party", according to the indictment, which notes over time the account attracted more than 100,000 followers. The Russians also paid American citizens to do their bidding, according to the indictment. The document says there was no evidence the alleged campaign had any impact whatsoever on the outcome of the election.

The indictment charged 13 Russians with running a huge but hidden social media trolling campaign combined with on-the-ground politicking aimed in part at helping Trump defeat his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

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"This indictment serves as a reminder that people are not always who they appear to be on the internet", Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Friday. However, as one Russia guru points out to me, "on the "unwitting" Trump campaign officials, we know there was a hell of a lot of 'witting.' That is effectively what the June 9 meeting (at Trump Tower) and (outreach to Russians from) Papadopoulos show". "The attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigators are disgraceful and must cease".

If the indictment was properly covered by the U.S. media, Americans would realize there was not much to it, independent journalist, author, and former Wall Street Journal correspondent Joe Lauria believes, but this is unlikely the way the story will be remembered.

"There could be an investigative reason for not fully showing your hand now", Eliason says.

They used these bogus accounts to pretend to be US activists. Trump said in one tweet quote tweeting Goldman's remarks.

In a big expose, The Post recently reported that Trump's refusal to acknowledge Russian meddling is directly linked to his unwillingness to diminish the greatness of his victory.

"If these things did happen - they may be guilty of identity theft and certainly didn't register as foreign agents - but the idea that this had an impact on the election is farcical".

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