Saturday, February 17, 2018
When Donald Trump finally acknowledged publicly that Russians had hacked Democratic emails and interfered in the 2016 presidential election, the then-president-elect immediately regretted it. He confided to advisers that he did not believe the intelligence. The last thing Trump wanted to do was to endorse the notion that his victory may have been caused by any force other than his own strategy, message and charisma. But Trump's own Justice Department has concluded otherwise. A 37-page federal indictment released Friday afternoon spells out in exhaustive detail a three-year Russian plot to disrupt America's democracy and boost Trump's campaign, dealing a fatal blow to one of the president's favorite talking points. According to the federal charges, Russian operatives spread pro-Trump and anti- Clinton propaganda. They posed as Americans to coordinate and infiltrate political activities. They stoked racial tensions and sowed social discord.
"We have known that Russians meddled in the election, but these indictments detail the extent of the subterfuge," House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. "These Russians engaged in a sinister and systematic attack on our political system. It was a conspiracy to subvert the process, and take aim at democracy itself. Today's announcement underscores why we need to follow the facts and work to protect the integrity of future elections."
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which has been investigating Russian meddling, said in a statement, "The indictment reaffirms what our intelligence community concluded, what our committee's investigation has borne out, and what President Trump denies: that Russia interfered in our election in an effort to assist his presidential campaign and harm Hillary Clinton's campaign."
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