BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Special counsel Robert Mueller 13 Russian nationals and three Russian business for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election,
The Department of Justice says the Russians started a plan of attack well before the 2016 election, and when the political climate changed, they changed right along with it.
Russian meddling has long been suspected in the 2016 presidential election cycle, but on Friday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein laid out evidence. The former U.S. Attorney for Maryland announced the Russians mounted an aggressive social media campaign to undercut the U.S. electoral process.
“The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the united states with the state goal of spreading distrust toward candidates and political system,” Rosenstein said.
No Americans were named in the indictment, and President Donald Trump took that as a win.
He tweeted “…the Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”
But Maryland Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger says this is proof the investigation is far from over.
“Our President Trump has said that this Russian investigation is a hoax. It really concerns me that he says that because these indictments, along with other indictments, show that there is something real that is here,” Congressman Ruppersberger said.
The DOJ says as far back as 2014, Russian impostors started using social media to target candidates like Hillary Rodham Clinton and even some Republicans like Ted Cruz.
The Russians are even accused of disseminating ads featuring Freddie Gray.
One of the Russian suspects has mocked Americans for being gullible.
Maryland Republican Andy Harris said voters should not believe everything online.
“They are attempting to create a condition of chaos in democracies and we just have to resist that. i believe we have the ability, we have the cyber security expertise,” Rep. Harris said.
Both Republicans and Democrats say something has to be done to stop further Russian meddling, especially ahead the midterms later this year.
The 13 Russians were indicted on conspiracy, bank fraud and identity theft charges. Rosenstein also said the indictment does not allege Russian meddling changed the outcome of the election.