Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election has now resulted in the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities, the Justice Department announced on Friday.
The federal grand jury, empaneled by Mueller, also charged the persons and organizations with wire fraud and bank fraud, CNN reported.
Five defendants were charged with aggravated identity theft, according to CNN.
“The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States, with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said.
No Americans were named in the indictments. Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray briefed President Trump on the matter Friday morning, White House officials said.
The indictments focused on a “disinformation campaign” that utilized social media platforms including Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, and Paypal, CNBC reported.
The Russian disinformation network reportedly encompassed 80 employees.
According to CNBC, the “disinformation” campaigns included both right-wing and left-wing groups, including The groups created social media movements including United Muslims of America, Army of Jesus, Blacktivist, South United, and Heart of Texas.
One of the Russian entities was an organization called Internet Research Agency. According to CNN, the group began its operations in 2014. During the 2016 election, the group allegedly began supporting the candidacy of Donald Trump.
Rosenstein clarified that no Americans knowingly participated in the activity.
“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity,” he said. “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charge conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”
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