Three Russian companies are also named in the indictment.
Mr. Rosenstein said there is nothing in the indictment that indicates any American citizens were involved in the alleged information warfare campaign. Sometimes the Russians used fake USA personas co communicate with Trump officials doing local outreach and those officials would then distribute their materials via social media. And President Trump echoed that in his statement this afternoon, saying we should unite as Americans to protect the integrity of our elections.
In a shocking turn of events, Mueller made a decision to actually do his job of investigating Russian election tampering instead of charging Trump associates over anything and everything else. We know about some contacts between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign that have been in the press for the past couple of months.
"Over time, these social media accounts became defendants' means to reach significant numbers of Americans for purposes of interfering with the US political system", the indictment reads.
On Friday, Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of House Intelligence, who commissioned the Republican memo, said it was "gratifying" to see the indictments, calling Russian President Vladimir Putin's government "a pressing threat to American interests".
George Papadopoulos, another advisor for the Trump campaign admitted he had lied to federal investigators about meetings with a Russian agent in connection with the campaign.
Beginning as early as 2014, the Russian organization Internet Research Agency began operations to interfere with the USA politics, including the 2016 elections, according to the indictment.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that the indictment did not include any allegations that any American or members of the Trump campaign "was a knowing participant in the alleged unlawful activity". All were charged with conspiracy to defraud the US, three with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and five with aggravated identity theft. Essentially, these Russian companies and individuals were engaged in a campaign of destabilization; attempting to create confusion and acrimony and undermine the political process. In one internal memo, prosecutors said, the Internet Research Agency told its employees to "use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump - we support them)".
These illegally created USA -based accounts were used to fund basically every part of the IRA's campaign to interfere in the 2016 election. "Thirteen against the billion-dollar budgets of the security services?"
Andrew Leipold, a law professor at the University of IL who served as a consultant on Special Counsel Kenneth W. Starr's Whitewater investigation, agreed.
"Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally entitled "Charlotte Against Trump" in Charlotte, North Carolina, held on or about November 19, 2016", the indictment said.