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Russians, 3 groups indicted in probe into election meddling
March 24 2018, 07:46 | Irvin Gilbert
Reuters13 Russians have been charged with tampering n the 2016 US presidential election in which Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton
One of the men named in the indictment, Evgeny Prigozhin, who is already has U.S. sanctions against his personal and business ventures, said the charges did not upset him. It also doesn't identify the group. Russian conspirators tried to promote discord in United States and undermine public confidence in democracy.
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News of the Texas connection immediately set off speculation about which grassroots group might have been contacted. The operation is alleged to have involved several components, including targeting foreign audiences in several companies-an accusation that appears to be in line with intelligence reports that accuse Russian Federation of meddling at the time of the Brexit vote as well as trying to influence elections in France and Germany.
"I am calling on Mueller and the Department of Justice to specifically name the the individual and the organization referenced in the indictment", said the group's president, Daniel Miller.
Some of the nationals posed as Americans and created false identities to operate social media pages and groups to "attract USA audiences", the indictment reads, and were "falsely claimed to be controlled by US activists". A spokesman says, "PayPal is intensely focused on combatting and preventing the illicit use of" its services and works closely with law enforcement, including in this instance.
The Russian nationals and their supporting organizations also targeted the 2016 presidential candidates. That activist is not named in the indictment.
The indictment says the Internet Research Agency was funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg businessman dubbed "Putin's chef" because his restaurants and catering businesses once hosted the Kremlin leader's dinners with foreign dignitaries.
Its charges also provide new evidence for claims by United States intelligence agencies that Russian Federation attempted to manipulate U.S. voters in 2016.
Prosecutors say the Internet Research Agency's budget requests to Concord amounted to some $1,250,000 per month as of September 2016.
"The charges arise from Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the election and whether there was improper coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin". He has already filed charges against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort over money laundering, conspiracy against the United States and more. One aide has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI while two others have been charged with federal crimes.
Mueller is also reportedly investigating Trump for obstruction of justice.
However in a post on Twitter, he said that his campaign did nothing wrong.
The group organized pro-Trump rallies in Florida and NY, but much of its work was focused on producing material that was damaging to Clinton and Trump's Republican rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
This was a list of social media ads in the indictment handed down on Friday afternoon.
"There is no allegation in the indictment of any effect on the outcome of the election", he also said.
Richard Painter, who served as White House ethics counsel under President George W. Bush, called the indictments a first step towards revealing the complete picture of Russian interference.