Special counsel Robert Mueller indicted thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian companies Friday for allegedly interfering in the 2016 presidential election by creating “hundreds” of fake social media accounts to share news stories.
“The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States,” said deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein of “Internet Research Agency LLC, a Russian company based in St. Petersburg.”
The Russians are charged with criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States. Surely, anti-Trump fanatics will use the indictment to come after the president. The indictment states that some people “associated” with the Trump campaign “unwittingly” interacted fictitious Russian-created accounts. But no so fast.
The indicted Russians hyped Hillary Clinton and staged multiple protests against President Trump.
From the indictment:
“At the same time, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through another ORGANIZATION-controlled group, organized a rally in New York called ‘Trump Is NOT My President’ held on or about November 12, 2016. Similarly, Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally entitled ‘Charlotte Against Trump’ in Charlotte, North Carolina, held on or about November 19, 2016.”
The New York Times reported in glowing terms on the anti-Trump protest in D.C. on November 12, which was set up by the Russian defendants. The Times even noted a sign held by a protester that read “Putin Won.”
“They were transgender people, the children of immigrants, and parents toting infants on their back. They were families, students, and men and women of all ages and races. Many carried cardboard signs — “Show the world what the popular vote looks like,” read one, “Putin Won,” said another. As throngs marched through city streets, the participants joined in a cry of “Not my president!”
In one of the largest anti-Trump demonstrations since his election on Tuesday, a mass of people marched from Union Square in Manhattan to Trump Tower, the headquarters and home of Mr. Trump. Protesters marched around one of Mr. Trump’s buildings in Chicago. In Los Angeles, thousands of people marched up Wilshire Boulevard, forming a crowd that stretched for nearly a dozen blocks.”
Also from the indictment, this item, which renders the Russian actors’ motives unclear:
Mueller did not indict members of the Hillary Clinton campaign for using Russian disinformation to influence the election.
The Hillary Clinton campaign issued a press release on September 24, 2016 promoting information from the Christopher Steele dossier.
That press release has almost completely been scrubbed from the Internet, but is preserved in at least one tweet and in an Internet archive sponsored by The American Presidency Project.
The Clinton campaign, which funded the debunked dossier in an effort to obtain a FISA warrant to surveil Trump Tower, actively promoted a “Bombshell Report About Trump Aide’s Chilling Ties To Kremlin.” The Trump aide with the purported Kremlin ties was Carter Page. The “bombshell report” was a Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff headlined “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin.”
Rep. Devin Nunes’ intelligence memo makes clear that Isikoff’s article, which was promoted by the Clinton campaign, used Christopher Steele as its source and was used to help obtain the FISA warrant. The FISA warrant application falsely states that Steele did not leak information to Yahoo News.
“We’ve never seen anything like this in American politics,” Hillary for America says in its statement, which called the information in Isikoff’s article “chilling.”
Clinton adviser Adam Parkhomenko tweeted out the statement.
IT’S REAL: Four New Jersey Democrats Charged With Election Fraud in Mail-In Ballot Scheme
They’re all Democrats.
Four men, two of whom are Democratic city council members, have been charged with running a voter fraud operation in the town of Paterson, New Jersey.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced charges of mail-in voting fraud, election fraud, and illegal possession of mail-in ballots against Michael Jackson, Alex Mendez, Shelim Khalique, and Abu Rayzen.
Jackson is an active city councilman, while Mendez is a councilman-elect. Khalique is the brother of another Paterson city councilman, and Rayzen is a campaign operative for Khalique’s brother, Shahin Khalique.
The charges allege that Jackson took it upon himself to pick up completed mail-in ballots from voters in the city and delivered them to the Passaic County Board of Elections. Jackson failed to disclose to the board of elections that he delivered ballots for that he’s a city council member, and in one case, a ballot that he picked up that was unsealed was delivered to the election authorities sealed and completed.
Mendez is also accused of the same form of dishonest ballot harvesting, declining to reveal that he was a candidate for office when dropping off mail-in ballots. He’s also charged with falsifying and tampering with records.
Although they’re rarely enforced, New Jersey laws criminalizing election fraud have strict penalties, and it’s possible that the men could face prison sentences of up to ten years if they’re convicted of the second-degree felonies of which they’re charged.
A state investigation into the recent Paterson city election spurred the criminal charges, with AG Grewal revealing that 20% of the ballots filed in the election were fraudulent.
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