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Thread: Robert Mueller indicts 13 Russians for election meddling

  1. #1
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    Robert Mueller indicts 13 Russians for election meddling

    Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, recently told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russian cyberwarfare, including on social media, is one of his "greatest concerns." He said, "Frankly, the United States is under attack. Our enemies seek to sow division in the United States and weaken U.S. leadership." On February 13, the US intelligence agencies released their annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, warning that Russia will use social media "to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States." The report predicts those attacks are likely to target the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

    https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/...ats-021318.PDF

    And why will Russians target the 2018 midterm elections? Why not? They successfully targeted the 2016 Presidential election -- as we now know:

    Special counsel Robert Mueller indicts 13 Russians, alleging 2016 election interference
    Los Angeles Times, Feb 16 2018 2:00 PM

    Special counsel Robert Mueller III indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies Friday, accusing them of using stolen identities, fake campaign events and hundreds of social media accounts while spending millions of rubles to interfere in the 2016 presidential election in a secret effort to aid the Trump campaign.

    The 37-page indictment, the first charges by Mueller's office accusing Moscow of illegal meddling in the election, says that the Internet Research Agency, a Russian firm known for using troll accounts to post on news sites, orchestrated the interference campaign and that its operatives tried to communicate with at least three unnamed Trump campaign officials using fake identities. "By early to mid-2016, Defendants' operation included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton," says the indictment.

    Although the indictment alleges that the Russians contacted unnamed people in the Trump campaign, it does not allege that any Trump campaign officials knowingly cooperated with the effort. "There is no allegation that any American was a willing participant" in the Russian plan, and there is no allegation that it altered the outcome of the election, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a brief news conference discussing the indictment.

    Nonetheless, the indictment seriously undermines President Trump's repeated contention that the entire Russia investigation is a "hoax" or "witch hunt." It details specific activities the Russians took, initially focused on creating general discord in the U.S. but eventually focused specifically on boosting Trump's campaign. Some of the indicted people have previously been identified as having close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    The indictment accuses the 13 Russians and three businesses of "impairing, obstructing and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016." Rosenstein said the Justice Department had not yet had contact with Russian officials about extraditing any of the accused.

    Democrats said the indictment vindicated Mueller's investigation. "For all of those who have been asking 'where is the evidence of a crime? -- this is it. This is the criminal conspiracy," said Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee. "This is what President Trump and his allies have repeatedly called a 'hoax' and 'fake news.' This is what they tried to cover up. This is what we might never have known if President Trump had been successful in shutting down this investigation."

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-...216-story.html

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    Will the White House hold Russia accountable for the election meddling and take steps to ensure that no meddling occurs in future elections? Here is an analysis by Business Insider writer Sonam Sheth:

    Mueller's latest move just dealt the White House a massive 'black eye'

    http://www.businessinsider.com/muell...-theory-2018-2

  3. #3
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    McMaster rightfully observes that Russians are trying to sow discord and undermine our democracy -- and he even uses a six-syllable word!

    National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster says evidence of Russian election meddling is 'incontrovertible'

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mcmaster...eyond-dispute/

  4. #4
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    There is more hysteria than fact related to the "meddling" by the Russians. The effect of their actions was, by the reports own words, not connected to the outcome of the election.

    The Kochs, et al, the conservative hate-machine, Israel, the religious right, the DNC, gerrymandering, voter suppression and the corporate media have done more to destroy the country's fabric than any Russian could ever do. And, they've been at it for decades.

    The effect I do recognize is that propaganda works and hysteria is frequently the result. Critical thinking and the requirements of evaluating evidence and not allowing emotion and the herd instinct to affect your deliberations are mandatory if one wants to be knowledgeable.

    There isn't much of that in the country, nor is it valued. Rather, it is usually considered disloyal and disruptive.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02...-oil-politics/

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    "More hysteria than fact"? I disagree. Here are some facts: Russian trolls created 50,258 false Twitter accounts. Russian trolls spent a combined $100,000 to buy 3,000 ads on Facebook. The fake accounts and the ads were utilized to sow political discord and to build up Trump while denigrating Clinton. Facebook said the fake ads and fake posts were viewed by almost 150,000,000 users. Russians also utilized fake accounts on Google, YouTube, Instagram and PayPal. We will never know how many people changed their Presidential vote as a result of all the Russian propaganda.

    US government says Russia infiltrated Facebook with fake users, accounts and groups supporting Donald Trump

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/msn/th...ump/ar-BBJe1h9

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    Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates has agreed to plead guilty to fraud-related charges and will testify against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The dragnet is drawing tighter.

    Mueller charges New York attorney with making false statements in Russia probe
    UPI, Feb 20 2018 3:19 PM

    Special counsel Robert Mueller has charged a prominent New York attorney with lying to the FBI and his office during its probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Alex Van Der Zwaan faces a charge of "willfully and knowingly making materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements." According to the indictment unsealed Tuesday, Van Der Zwaan made false statements regarding his work with a law firm on behalf of Ukraine's Ministry of Justice in 2012 to prepare a report on the trial of Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko. Van Der Zwaan, who was charged Friday, also communicated with Richard Gates, a business associate of President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Gates and Manafort were indicted in October by a federal grand jury on charges that included conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy against the United States and failing to register as foreign agents of Ukraine's former pro-Russian government.

    https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2018...7881519138350/

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    Lyudmila Savchuk, a Russian activist, went undercover in 2015 and got a job at Агентство интернет-исследований (Internet Research Agency), the St. Petersberg troll farm that set up fake social media accounts in the US for the purpose of sowing dissension and division, denigrating Hillary Clinton and working to get Trump elected to the Presidency. Fearing for her safety, Savchuk could not reveal too much to CBS News -- but she said enough:

    Inside the 'troll factory' at the center of Russia's election meddling campaign

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/inside-...ling-campaign/

  8. #8
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    The so-called "Cold War" lasted from 1947 until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Thanks to the World Wide Web and social media, the US and Russia have been waging a new Cold War since 2014. All the attacks are done online.

    Man who says he was a Russian 'troll' is arrested hours after speaking to news media

    http://www.abcnews.go.com/internatio...ry?id=53214882

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    The expression "dirty tricks," referring to unethical and/or illegal activities intended to elect someone to office by sabotaging his opponents, entered our vocabulary. Since 2015, Russian trolls and the Trump campaign have taken dirty tricks to an unprecedented level -- but they're no longer getting away with it.

    Mueller files new charges against former Trump aides Manafort and Gates

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2...ion-fbi-latest

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    Here are more details of the indictments -- and why do I keep thinking about Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale?

    Special counsel brings new charges against Manafort, Gates
    CBS News, Feb 22 2018 6:43 PM

    Ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Richard Gates have been indicted by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia. Special counsel Robert Mueller filed an indictment with 32 counts, including 16 counts related to false individual income tax returns, seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, five counts of bank fraud conspiracy and four counts of bank fraud. The new charges stem from work Manafort and Gates performed for Ukraine, specifically for Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych and the political parties affiliated with him. The special counsel has been leading the investigation into potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/special...anafort-gates/

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