Speed Reads

it's mueller time

Mueller indicts 13 Russian nationals for interfering in the 2016 election

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for meddling in the 2016 election. In the first election interference charges to result from Mueller's probe, the federal indictment states that the defendants "conspired to obstruct the lawful functions of the United States government through fraud and deceit."

The document explains how a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency, used fake accounts on various social media platforms to sow chaos during the presidential election. In some cases, Russian agents assumed the identities of real Americans to manipulate social media. The goal was to "use any opportunity to criticize Hillary [Clinton] and the rest" of the candidates, while actively supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Donald Trump. The Russians also allegedly aimed to suppress the minority vote by encouraging minorities to vote for a third-party candidate or skip voting altogether.

The indictment also claims that "unwitting members, volunteers, and supporters of the Trump campaign" came into contact with Russians posing as Americans. In a press conference announcing the indictment, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the charges were "a reminder that people are not always who they seem on the internet." Still, he told reporters, "There is no allegation in this indictment that [such meddling] altered the outcome of the 2016 election."

Read the indictment in full here.