Special counsel Robert Mueller has announced the indictment of thirteen Russian nationals for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. The charges include supporting Donald Trump’s campaign as well as “disparaging” Hillary Clinton.
At a press conference, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the defendants allegedly conducted what they called “Information Warfare” against the U.S., with the expressed goal of spreading distrust of presidential candidates, as well as of the U.S. political system in general.
The indictment charges all of the defendants and three Russian entities with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. In addition, it charges three of the defendants with conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.
Rosenstein in making the announcement, also importantly noted that there were no allegations in the indictment that either “any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity,” or “that the conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”
In a statement to ITN, Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said, “The indictment reaffirms what our Intelligence Community concluded, what our Committee’s investigation has borne out, and what President Trump denies: that Russia interfered in our election in an effort to assist his presidential campaign and harm Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”
He also cautioned that the indictments do not necessarily clear President Trump’s presidential campaign of any wrongdoing. “While it does not include an allegation that any U.S. persons conspired wittingly with the Russian actors,” he wrote, “the indictment leaves open the vital question of whether Americans, including any associated with the Trump campaign, knowingly played a role in Russia’s active measures campaign.”