- Special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report identified multiple instances in which Russian online propaganda meant to interfere in the 2016 election was re-tweeted by members of the Trump campaign.
- While the report documented extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to charge Trump or anyone associated with his campaign with conspiracy.
- The report also documented occasions on which IRA accounts posing as grassroots organisers contacted members of the Trump campaign to assist with pro-Trump events they were planning.
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The redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report into his investigation into Russian interference identified multiple instances in which Russian online propaganda meant to interfere in the 2016 election was shared by members of the Trump campaign.
Mueller identified two separate Russian interference efforts: a targeted campaign that waged cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and an online disinformation effort spearheaded by a firm called the Internet Research Agency (IRA).
The Mueller report described in great detail how the Internet Research Agency (IRA) weaponised social media both to spread inflammatory content supporting now-President Donald Trump and opposing Hillary Clinton – including organising real-life protests and events.
Here are some of the times people associated with the Trump campaign amplified Russian-sponsored disinformation:
- In August of 2016, Trump posted photos from an event organised in part by IRA-controlled accounts in Miami to his Facebook page with the message “my team just shared photos from your TRUMP SIGN WAVING DAY, yesterday! I love you – and there is no question – TOGETHER, WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
- On at least three instances between October 26 and November 8 of 2016, Donald Trump Jr. re-tweeted posts from the IRA-controlled account @TEN_GOP making false claims of voter fraud in Indiana and Florida.
- Trump Jr. also retweeted a post from the IRA persona @Pamela_Moore13 on the day before the election.
- Kellyanne Conway, Gen. Michael Flynn, Eric Trump, and Brad Parscale also re-tweeted several @TEN_GOP posts – including unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and impersonation – in the month leading up to the election.
- In September of 2017, Trump re-tweeted a message from @10_GOP, the “backup” account of then-deactivated @TEN_GOP reading, “we love you Mr. President.”
The report also documented occasions on which IRA accounts posing as grassroots organisers contacted members of the Trump campaign to assist with pro-Trump events they were organising, including “requests for signs and other materials to use at rallies” and “to promote the rallies and help coordinate logistics.”
Mueller’s team added that while “certain Trump campaign volunteers” – who the report did not name – did assist with the rallies by reserving signs in some cases, the investigation “had not identified evidence that any Trump Campaign official understood the requests were coming from foreign nationals.”
In February of 2018, the special counsel’s office indicted 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian companies on charges of conspiracy, conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft in connection with the online disinformation campaigns.
While the report documented extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to charge Trump or anyone associated with his campaign with conspiracy.
The report did say that “the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome” and the Trump campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”
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