Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Russian national charged with interfering in United States political system, 2018 elections

Russian national charged with interfering in United States political system, 2018 elections

The Justice Department on Friday charged a Russian woman for her role in a conspiracy to interfere with the 2018 USA election, marking the first criminal case prosecutors have brought against a foreign national for interfering in the upcoming Midterms.

A criminal complaint by federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Virginia provides step by step details on how Russian Federation used social media as a gateway to influence US elections.

The complaint says the woman, Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, worked for the same Russian social media troll farm that was indicted in February by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Federal authorities have charged a Russian woman for allegedly taking part in a Russian plot to interfere in the upcoming 2018 midterms elections and other politically-charged events inside the United States, the DOJ announced, October 19, 2018.

The U.S.is concerned about the campaigns "to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies", the officials said in a joint statement.

Concord Management and Concord Catering were among the three entities and 13 Russian individuals who were indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office in February in an alleged criminal and espionage conspiracy to tamper with the 2016 USA presidential race, boost Trump and disparage his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

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Intelligence officials said past year that Russian Federation sought to influence the 2016 presidential election through similar means.

In a joint statement, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Homeland Security Department, the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation say they're anxious about activities that "seek to influence voter perceptions and decision-making" in the 2018 and 2020 elections. They used social media platforms to create thousands of social media and email accounts that appeared to be operated by USA persons, and used them to create and amplify divisive social and political content targeting US audiences.

A criminal complaint filed against the woman charges that she managed the finances of Project Lakhta, including detailed expenses for activities in the US such as paying for activists, advertisements on social media, registering domain names, the purchase of proxy servers, and promoting news postings on social media.

In July, Mueller's office also indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers who were accused of hacking Democratic computer networks as part of Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election.

And, according to the Justice Department, they "took advantage of specific events in the United States to anchor their themes", including the racially-motivated shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina, church three years ago that left nine people dead, and the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally last year that left one woman dead. What remains to be seen is how and whether Mueller can connect President Trump or his campaign to those efforts.

The Russian operatives discussed how to influence public opinion.

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