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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/16/18

Mueller's Latest Indictment Shows Trump Has Helped Putin Cover Up a Crime

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By continuing to cast doubt on Russian involvement, the president is helping the Kremlin get away with its election attack.

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People forgot. Special counsel Robert Mueller was not only focused on investigating interactions between Trump world and the Russians; he was tasked with digging into Vladimir Putin's attack on the 2016 election. And on Friday afternoon, he announced the indictment of 13 Russian nationals for interfering with the presidential campaign. The indictment focused on the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked outfit based in St. Petersburg, where hundreds of trolls were paid to disseminate false information and propaganda on American social media to influence the election. The document noted that IRA trolls "posted derogatory information about a number of candidates" and its "operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump...and disparaging Clinton."

Here is yet more proof, not that any was needed, that Russia meddled in the election to benefit Trump -- and that Trump's continued denial or downplaying of Putin's intervention is nothing but bunk. The indictment is a reminder that Trump won a tainted election, in which he was assisted by Russian skullduggery -- and that he has refused to come to terms with that.

This indictment only covers one part of the information warfare unleashed by Russia against American democracy two years ago. Roughly speaking, Moscow's attack had three components: the social media assault, the hack-and-dump operation targeting Democrats, and the penetration of state voting systems. Each had the potential to undermine the election and cause discord or even chaos. The social media attack went largely unnoticed during the campaign, as Russian trolls and bots infiltrated Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms to spread and amplify messages designed to fuel political divisions within the United States and, in many instances, to boost Trump. They bought ads on Facebook that assailed Clinton. They set up fake Facebook pages that organized and promoted real-life pro-Trump or anti-Clinton rallies in the United States. Facebook and Twitter only grudgingly acknowledged last year that they had been exploited by Russia's cyber operatives, whose work complemented the social media efforts of the Trump campaign. And the Internet Research Agency, the target of Mueller's indictment, was a center of this clandestine online activity.

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David Corn is  Mother Jones ' Washington bureau chief. For more of his stories,  click here . He's also  on  Twitter  and  FacebookRSS  |    David is (more...)
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