The Russian Indictments: Where Were James Clapper and John Brennan?

A AUG. 21 2013 FILE

Top Russian and American officials exchanged barbs Saturday in Germany over the us indictment of 13 Russians accused of an elaborate plot to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

Lavrov argued that US officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, have said no country influenced the USA election results.

H.R. McMaster, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security advisor, said at the Munich Security Conference that the federal indictments showed the U.S. was becoming "more and more adept at tracing the origins of this espionage and subversion".

"I have seen so many allegations and indictments in recent years towards Russians", said Kislyak, who also attended the Munich gathering.

The Internet Research Agency, operating out of St. Petersburg, Russia, was described in the indictment as a hub for a sophisticated operation created to reach millions of Americans to disrupt the political process in the U.S. Its annual budget was millions of dollars; its stated goal was to "spread distrust toward the candidates and the political system in general". "That's why they are just children's statements", Andrei Kutskikh, the presidential envoy for global information security, told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti. Instead, it fingers a group of operatives working for a unit called the "organization", financed to the tune of millions of dollars by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg businessman dubbed "Putin's chef" because his restaurants have catered dinners for the Kremlin leader and foreign dignitaries. The Trump Tower meeting - separately being investigated by the special counsel - is not cited in Friday's indictment and is not known to have any connection with the allegations detailed in it.

Senator Mark Warner has said that the special counsel has made an important step in holding Russian Federation accountable, with this indictment.

It marks the first criminal charges against Russians believed to have secretly worked to influence the US election's outcome.

The goal of the Russian operation was "information warfare against the United States", the indictment alleges. Prior to this indictment, Mueller had filed indictments against four people tied to the Trump campaign including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort.

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On one hand, they confirm Russian Federation interference, but they also seem to clear his campaign of knowing involvement with at least a portion of Moscow's efforts to influence the contest.

The scheme outlined in the indictment began with fraudulent visa applications for

Written by ex-British spy Steele and financed by the Democratic Party, the dossier has permeated the FBI and the Democrats' investigations into possible Trump-Russia collusion.

The Russians disguised their true identities, posing as Americans to appear just like any politically active citizen.

After discovering issues that were near and dear to Americans, they created content that would stir up controversy in order to "sow discord in the USA political system, including the 2016 presidential election", the indictment says.

The Mueller indictment provides a comprehensive look at one such operation.

According to one internal communication described by prosecutors, the specialists were instructed to "use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump - we support them)".

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation, said Friday there is "no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity" and "no allegation that this activity actually altered the outcome of the 2016 election". The defendants allegedly used Facebook to organize Trump rallies. In one case, it said, the Russians paid an unidentified person to build a cage aboard a flatbed truck and another to wear a costume "portraying Clinton in a prison uniform".

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