By: CHRIS SOMMERFELDT, DENIS SLATTERY of Daily News
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office has charged more than a dozen Russian nationals with violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with the 2016 election, the Department of Justice said on Friday.
A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities and charged them with trying to sway the election in favor of President Trump, according to court documents.
“The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said Friday. “We must not allow them to succeed.”
The indictment was sought through Mueller, who has been tasked with investigating Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the election and any possible ties to the Trump campaign.
“Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” according to the indictment.
Trump, despite the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community, has repeatedly cast doubt on whether Russia attempted influence on the election.
But the efforts of the foreign “organization” in the indictment date to at least 2014.
“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,” Rosenstein said.