13 Russians indicted for meddling in US elections; Trump, White House react

…with agency reports

Thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian groups have been charged with violating criminal laws with the intent of meddling “with U.S. elections and political processes” on Friday.

The 37-page indictment, signed and released on Friday, by Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, revealed an elaborate scheme in which some of the Russians accused allegedly came to the U.S. with the deliberate intention of undermining the American political and electoral process, including the last presidential election.

According to the indictment, some defendants “communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign” without revealing their association with Russia. The indictment also says the defendants posted negative information about a number of candidates during the last general election.

The individuals operated social media pages and groups designed to attract American audiences with a strategic goal to “sow discord in the U.S. political system”. They staged rallies and had a basic infrastructure which included computers and other support systems.

“The indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.”

President Donald Trump and the White House react

In his reaction, President Donald Trump tweeted that the activity in the indictment began before his campaign.

His words: Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”

The White House also released a statement saying that they are ” glad to see the Special Counsel’s investigation further indicates—that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected.”

“it is more important than ever before to come together as Americans. We cannot allow those seeking to sow confusion, discord, and rancor to be successful. It’s time we stop the outlandish partisan attacks, wild and false allegations, and far-fetched theories, which only serve to further the agendas of bad actors, like Russia, and do nothing to protect the principles of our institutions,” Trump said in the statement. “We must unite as Americans to protect the integrity of our democracy and our elections.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan issues statement

Republican, Ryan, issued the following statement in reaction to the report: “We have known that Russians meddled in the election, but these indictments detail the extent of the subterfuge. These Russians engaged in a sinister and systematic attack on our political system. It was a conspiracy to subvert the process, and take aim at democracy itself. Today’s announcement underscores why we need to follow the facts and work to protect the integrity of future elections.”


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