Russian woman charged with interfering in United States midterm elections

Russian woman charged with interfering in United States midterm elections

The Justice Department has charged a Russian national who is apparently part of a conspiracy to interfere in the USA elections, including the upcoming midterms.

Those two companies were among three entities and 13 Russian individuals who were indicted by Mr Mueller's office in an alleged criminal and espionage conspiracy to tamper with the 2016 United States presidential race, improve Donald Trump's profile and damage that of Hillary Clinton.

The Justice Department disclosed the criminal complaint soon after USA intelligence agencies said in a joint statement that they were concerned about efforts by Russia, China and Iran to influence US voters and policy. "These activities also may seek to influence voter perceptions and decision making in the 2018 and 2020 US elections".

Federal prosecutors charged 44-year-old Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, of St. Petersburg, Russia, with conspiracy to defraud the United States for managing the financing of the social media troll operation that included the Internet Research Agency, which special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators charged with crimes earlier this year.

Prigozhin, sometimes dubbed "Putin's chef" because he has managed catering for the Russian leader, was already indicted in February along with 12 other IRA employees over their disinformation campaigns during the 2016 presidential election.

Those allegedly involved in the operation attempted to present themselves as Americans, the DOJ said.

"Members of the conspiracy took advantage of specific events in the United States to anchor their themes, including the shootings of church members in Charleston, South Carolina, and concert attendees in Las Vegas; the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally and associated violence; police shootings of African-American men; as well as the personnel and policy decisions of the current USA presidential administration", the DOJ said in its press release.

The charges come as top USA law enforcement and intelligence agencies warn Americans about ongoing efforts by Russia, China and other foreign actors to interfere in the 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential elections.

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Intelligence officials said past year that Russian Federation sought to influence the 2016 presidential election through similar means.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence blasted China in a speech saying Russia's influence efforts in America pale in comparison with the covert and overt activities of the Chinese to interfere in the midterms and counter Trump's tough trade policies against Beijing.

The officials have cited largely public steps taken by China, such as aiming tariffs at politically important states and pressuring US businesses to speak out against the Trump administration.

Foreign countries are using social media to amplify divisive issues in American society by sponsoring content in English-language media, such as Russia's RT and Sputnik news outlets, the statement said.

"Currently, we do not have any evidence of a compromise or disruption of infrastructure that would enable adversaries to prevent voting, change vote counts or disrupt our ability to tally votes in the midterm elections".

"Some state and local governments have reported attempts to access their networks, which often include online voter registration databases, using tactics that are available to state and nonstate cyber actors", they said.

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