Special Counsel Robert Mueller has just handed down a set of indictments, charging 13 Russian citizens and three Russian organizations with interference in the U.S. presidential election in efforts dating back to 2014.
The indictment names the Internet Research Agency, a bot farm and disinformation operation based out of St. Petersburg, as one of the sources of the fake accounts meant to create divisions in American society. Those accounts were active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and the indictment brings up specific examples from the internal review results that these tech companies handed over to Congress.
Congress has taken an active interest in these ads and the companies that facilitated their dissemination, calling the heads of Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee last October. The House and Senate Intelligence committees, both conducting their own parallel investigations into election interference, investigated the content of these fake accounts and the circumstances that led to their spread.
Mueller is spearheading the far-reaching ongoing investigation into meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. While these early charges are targeted at Russian nationals, Mueller has also taken an active interest in former members of the Trump campaign, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who stands accused of money laundering.
The new indictments center around the allegation that those named violated laws that forbid foreign entities from contributing money to influence U.S. federal elections. The Russians face multiple charges, including one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and six counts of aggravated identity theft.
You can read the full text of the indictment, embedded below.
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