With yet another blockbuster indictment (why is it always on a Friday afternoon?), Special Counsel Robert Mueller has, once again, upended Washington. And this time, it is possible that his efforts may have a wider effect outside the Beltway.
For those following the matter, there has been little doubt that Russian citizens attempted to interfere with the American presidential election. The American intelligence agencies publicized that conclusion more than a year ago in a report issued in January 2017, and it has stood by the analysis whenever it has been questioned. But some in the country have doubted the assertion—asking for evidence of interference that was not forthcoming.
Now the evidence has been laid out in painful detail by the special counsel. If any significant fraction of what is alleged in the latest indictment is true (and we should, of course, remind ourselves that an indictment is just an allegation—not proof), then this tale is a stunning condemnation of Russian activity. A Russian organization with hundreds of employees and a budget of millions of dollars is said to have systematically engaged in an effort (code named “Project Lakhta”) to undermine the integrity of the election and, perhaps more importantly, to have attempted to influence the election to benefit then-candidate Donald Trump. Among the allegations, the Russians:
Conducted political intelligence-gathering activities in the United States;
Hid their activities by setting up virtual networks in America that masked their extra-American communications;
Influenced the American election by using false personas to organize rallies for Trump, criticizing Muslims and spreading allegations of voter fraud by candidate Clinton;
Stole American identities to create controlled accounts; and
Destroyed evidence of their activities.
The details of these activities are painfully explicit; the indictment cites dates, times, places, messages, posts, and specific rallies. In …read more
Source:: The Atlantic – Politics