February 16, 2018 12:58 pm -

Shortly before 1pmEST, Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced a major indictment that is the fruit of Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign — and they point to a direction in the probe of which almost nobody took note.

The indictment names Russians who are accused of participating in online efforts to disrupt the 2016 presidential election: 13 individuals, 3 entities.


There is also a new plea deal in place:Mueller has obtained a guilty plea from one Richard Pinedo, who operates a company that helps clients skirt security requirements on online payment systems and services. Pinedo has agreed to cooperate with the Office of Special Counsel.

The Guardian reports:

The Russians allegedly posed as Americans to operate bogus social media accounts, buy advertisements and stage political rallies. They stole the identities of real people in the US to post online and built computer systems in the US to hide the Russian origin of their activity, according to the indictment.

The charges state that from as far back as 2014, the defendants conspired together to defraud the US by “impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of government” through interference with the American political and electoral processes.

One defendant, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, is accused of using companies he controlled – including Concord Management and Consulting, and Concord Catering – to finance the operations against the US. The operation at one stage had a monthly budget of $1.25m, according to Mueller, which paid for operatives’ salaries and bonuses.

Events were organised by Russians posing as Trump supporters and as groups opposed to Trump such as Black Lives Matter, according to prosecutors, and one advertisement shortly before the election promoted the Green party candidate Jill Stein, who is blamed by some Clinton backers for splitting the anti-Trump vote.

The individuals listed as charged are Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov, Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik, Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova, Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva, Sergey Pavlovich Polozov, Maria Anatolyevna Bovda, Robert Sergeyevich Bovda, Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly, Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev, Gleb Igorevitch Vasilchenko, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina, Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin and Vladimir Venkov.

All were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Three defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants were charged with aggravated identity theft.

US intelligence agencies previously concluded that Russians mounted an attack on the US election system aimed at electing Donald Trump to the presidency.

The 37-page indictment states that the Russian parties acted to support the Trump presidential campaign and impede Hillary Clinton’s efforts, and alleges that a conspiracy created social media pages addressing the “BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT” (click on image to right to enlarge.

Our favorite courtroom geek tweep, @alt_spicerlies, posts several other highlights from the indictment.

The move suggests Mueller has been investigating conspiracy between individuals tied to or employed by the Trump campaign and Russian hackers — and that there will be more indictments to come with respect to this conspiracy.

It also reinforces the many suggestions that we are at cyberwar with Vladimir Putin’s klepocratic Russian regime.

Read the full indictment here. And read some terrific analyses here (@aliasvaughn).


D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.