A federal grand jury has indicted 13 Russian operatives and three Russian entities for allegedly working to create chaos in the 2016 presidential election.
During a brief press conference Friday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the defendants did not specifically alter the results or outcome of the election.
The biggest headline from Rosenstein came early in his briefing: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment states there was no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump and his campaign with officials from Russia.
This blows a major hole in Trump-Russia collusion theories from Democrats.
The Russian operatives and entities began their mission in 2013, according to the indictment.
This means they had a premeditated plan to meddle in the 2016 presidential election three years prior to its occurrence and well before any specific candidates had even announced their bid for the White House.
Rosenstein told reports at the Department of Justice that the group was simultaneously creating groups that supported Trump and also opposed him
Mueller’s indictment revealed that the Russians staged two rallies in New York City after Trump won the election.
“Defendants and their co-conspirators used false US personas to organize and coordinate other false US personas to organize and coordinate US political rallies protesting the results of the 2016 presidential election,” the indictment read.
One of those rallies, which was held on Nov. 12, 2016, included “Trump is NOT my President.”
One rally was to support Trump, and the other rally was to oppose Trump.
The indictment reveals the Russian operatives and entities were focused on creating chaos, not promoting one candidate over another.
Rosenstein said there is no evidence that any Americans or members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign were aware that they either speaking or engaging with these hostile actors on social media.
“Some Defendants, posing as US persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities,” the indictment read.
This indictment confirms Mueller’s team believes there’s no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians during the election.
Source: NBC News