A federal grand jury in Washington, DC, under the authority Special Counsel Robert Mueller, approved charges Friday against 13 Russian nationals for offenses related to the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.
The defendants are all alleged to be part of the “Internet Research Agency,” a company the indictment alleges is based in St. Petersburg, Russia, and operates through a number of front organizations with the aim on influencing American elections, Breitbart reports.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller’s special counsel investigation, announced the indictment at the main Department of Justice building in Washington, DC.
“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity,” Rosenstein said. “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”
Special Counsel’s Office spokesman Peter Carr described the indictment as covering “13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities accused of violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with U.S. elections and political processes.”
The group is alleged to have spent years, back to at least 2014, building a social media following of hundreds of thousands by playing off of existing divisions and sympathies in the American political landscape. When 2016 rolled around, the groups operatives are alleged to have disparaged Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, and used its influence to support Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
As Rosenstein explained, the goal of the alleged conspiracy is not as simple as supporting one candidate. The conspirators are alleged to have held rallies for and against president-elect Donald Trump on the same day in November, 2016.
“After the election, the defendants allegedly staged rallies to support the president-elect, while simultaneously staging rallies to protest his election,” Rosenstein told reporters. “For example, the defendant organized one rally to support the president-elect and another rally to oppose him, both in New York, on the same day.”
The indictment strongly implies links to the Kremlin. Over $1 million in rubles is alleged to have been funneled into the conspiracy through sources like “Concord Catering,” a company with significant contracts with the Russian government. http://www.breitbart.com/big-governme...