Special counsel Robert Mueller has charged 13 Russian nationals for conspiring against the U.S. They are accused of interfering with our elections.
BREAKING: A federal grand jury has indicted 13 Russian nationals “accused of violating US criminal laws in order to interfere with US elections and political processes.” Here it is: https://t.co/4T824L01yk pic.twitter.com/k9nyOicheb— Matt Viser (@mviser) February 16, 2018
"The nationals had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election," the 37-page document reads.
The nationals spent about $1.2 mil for its interference operation, the document continues, reportedly to "support" the Trump campaign and "disparage" the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Some of the defendants spoke with “unwitting” Trump campaign aides.
Despite President Trump dismissing talks of Russian collusion as a "hoax," CNN's chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto said "there has to be read hard proof" in order to pursue indictments like these.
"Do you believe it now?" Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) asked Trump following the news.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein officially announced the indictment from the DOJ headquarters Friday.
The 13 defendants, he explained, worked with false identification and posed as politically active Americans advocating for and against specific candidates. They purchased political advertisements on social media, staged political rallies, organized protests both for and against president-elect Donald Trump, and pretended to be grassroots activists, while recruiting Americans.
“These Americans did not know they were communicating with Russians,” Rosenstein said.
No allegation suggests that the nationals altered the outcome of the election.
"They want to undermine public confidence in democracy," Rosenstein explained. "We must not allow them to succeed."