Another Big Shoe Drops: Mueller Issues Indictments Against Russian Troll Farm for Working to Elect Donald Trump
There’s an ancient blogger’s curse that says: “May you never have a slow news day.” And in the Trump era that curse is upon us with a vengeance. Special counsel announces indictment against Russian troll farm.
The Internet Research Agency, which is based in St. Petersburg, Russia, was named in the indictment.
“From in or around 2014 to the present, defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the grand jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016,’’ the indictment states.
The indictment charges that some of the Russian suspects traveled to the United States to gather information to help in the scheme, and that they also impersonated Americans online in order to try to sway voters’ opinions. None of those charged are in custody, according to Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel’s office.
By February 2016, the suspects had decided whom they were supporting in the 2016 race. According to the indictment, Internet Research Agency specialists were instructed to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them.)”.
Prosecutors say some Russian employees of the troll farm were chastised in September 2016 when they had a “low number of posts dedicated to criticizing Hillary Clinton” and were told it was “imperative to intensify criticizing” the Democratic nominee in future posts.
This Russian operation had staff in the hundreds, and a monthly budget of $1.25 mil PER MONTH by Sept. 2016 — for context, this is more manpower and resources than most Republican presidential campaigns.
Russians PAID an American to wear a costume portraying Clinton in a prison uniform, indictment says (if you’re a reporter that covered 2016 campaign, you likely saw such costume on the road)
According to DOJ indictment Russians tried to suppress minority turnout & spread lies about voter fraud. Sounds like they were taking their cues from Republicans pic.twitter.com/FOoUVgd6Xq
In case you missed it, my 2015 story on the Internet Research Agency, just indicted by Mueller https://t.co/3Kc0c1ekrf
Other bits of information from this stunning indictment: the Russian trolls were specifically instructed to encourage people to vote for Donald Trump, Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders, and to damage the chances of Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. In other words, it was a very determined effort to subvert the election in order to make Donald Trump president of the United States.
And of course, it worked.
Our so-called president has been calling Russian interference “a hoax” and “a witch hunt.” It’s hard to know how much the Russian effort really did influence the election, but one thing’s for sure now that there are actual detailed indictments: something really stinks about Trump’s constant, determined efforts to deride and mock the investigation.
This isn’t over yet.