Political News

13 Russians Indicted in First Charges on 2016 Election Interference

Posted February 16, 2018 1:25 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations Friday with illegally using social media platforms to sow political discord, including actions that supported the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump and disparaged his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The indictment represents the first charges by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, for meddling in the 2016 presidential election — the fundamental crime that he was assigned to investigate.

In a 37-page indictment filed in U.S. District Court, Mueller said that the 13 individuals have conspired since 2014 to violate laws that prohibit foreigners from spending money to influence federal elections in the United States.

The indictment charges that the foreigners falsely posed as U.S. citizens, stole identities and otherwise engaged in fraud and deceit in an effort to influence the American political process, including the 2016 presidential race.

Though the Russians are unlikely to be immediately arrested, they are now wanted by the U.S. government, which will make it hard for them to travel or do business internationally.