Special counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians and three Russian entities on Friday for using social media platforms to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with the intent to support Donald Trump and disparage Hillary Clinton.
The indictment represents the first charges by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, for meddling in the 2016 presidential election — the fundamental crime that he was assigned to investigate.
In a 37-page indictment filed in United States District Court, Mr. Mueller said that the 13 individuals have conspired since 2014 to violate laws that prohibit foreigners from spending money to influence federal elections in the United States.
Mueller charges that the Russians posed as American citizens and perpetrated identity theft as well as fraud and deceit in their attempt to influence American politics, including the outcome of the last presidential race.
Though the Russians are unlikely to be immediately arrested, they are now wanted by the United States government, which will make it hard for them to travel or do business internationally.
All were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Three defendants were also charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.