Grand jury charges 13 Russians with interfering in 2016 US election

A US grand jury has charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities with interfering in 2016 US election, it has been revealed. Special counsel Robert Mueller said the defendants are accused of violating US criminal laws to interfere with American elections and the political process.
Special counsel Robert Mueller said the defendants are accused of violating US criminal laws to interfere with American elections and the political process. (Picture: Saul Loeb/ AFP/Getty Images)

Charges include conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. The indictment alleges that Russians used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to sway political opinion during the race between Republican Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent. It reads: ‘Defendants, posing as US persons and creating false US personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract US audiences’. The charges are the most direct allegation to date of illegal Russian meddling in the election.

The goal, the indictment says, was to ‘sow discord in the US political system, including the 2016 presidential election’. The charges arise from Mr Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the election and whether there was improper co-ordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Before Friday, four people, including Mr Trump’s former national security adviser and former campaign chairman, had been charged in Mr Mueller’s investigation. The White House had no immediate response to the indictment. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said the goal of 13 Russians and three Russian entities was ‘spreading distrust’ of 2016 candidates and the political system. He said the new indictment does not allege that Russian meddling altered the outcome of the election.

Grand jury charges 13 Russians with interfering in 2016 US election Grand jury charges 13 Russians with interfering in 2016 US election Reviewed by Lenin Dornala on February 16, 2018 Rating: 5

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