Robert Mueller ’66, special counsel overseeing the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, announced on Friday that 13 Russian individuals and three Russian entities have been criminally charged for illegally assisting President Trump in the election.
In the 37-page indictment that he filed regarding the case, Mueller laid out a comprehensive summary of the ways the Russian government had attempted to encourage Trump’s election, especially through social media channels such as Twitter. According to the , a Russian organization known as the Internet Research Agency actively engaged in what it called “information warfare” against the United States. Although the Internet Research Agency is a private company, it has been to the Kremlin since it first came to the attention of the United States in the .
The Russians were responsible for organizing pro-Trump events, including rallies, and promoting advertisements for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, to Mueller. They were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.
Mueller’s indictment also alleges that the Russians created an Instagram account on which they pretended to be “Woke Blacks” in an attempt to suppress election turnout among black voters, posting messages which encouraged voters to abstain from voting rather than choose Clinton as “the lesser of two devils.”
According to , Mueller is conducting a criminal inquiry into potential collusion with the Russians by members of Trump’s campaign. Two of Trump’s campaign advisers have already been charged with federal crimes related to the investigation, and two others have pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI.