13 Russian nationals and a Kremlin-linked internet research have been indicted on Friday. Special counsel Robert Mueller charged them over the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.
Mueller charged in the indictment that some of the Russians pretending to be Americans, “communicated with unwitting individuals” associated with Trump’s 2016 campaign “to seek to coordinate political activities.”
The charges also include violations of campaign finance laws, conspiracy and identity theft and failing to register as agents of a foreign government.
Prosecutors also alleged that the Russian Internet Research Agency and others spread messages on social media that supposedly promote Trump’s candidacy while hitting Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. They also alleged that some of the Russian operatives were behind organized rallies supporting Trump. It was also alleged that the Russians traveled to the U.S. to gather information.
The indictment of the Russians marks the latest salvo in Mueller’s probe of the alleged Russian election interference. Last year, prosecutors brought charges against four people tied to Trump’s campaign, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his top national security aide Mike Flynn.
The indictment does not allege that any Americans had knowledge of what the Russians were doing.
A White House officials have said to media that Trump was personally briefed on the said indictments by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Trump has repeatedly questioned the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential elections and denied the allegations of his campaign team’s connivance with the Russians.
Rosenstein in a press conference announcing the indictment said that it is “a reminder that people aren’t always who they appear to be on the internet.”