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Russian charged with conspiring to interfere in USA congressional elections

Russian charged with conspiring to interfere in USA congressional elections”

President Donald Trump, asked about the Russian national charged with attempting to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections Friday, was quick to defend himself and repeat that there was "no collusion" with his campaign.

The Justice Department disclosed the criminal complaint soon after US intelligence agencies said in a joint statement that they were concerned about efforts by Russia, China and Iran to influence USA voters and policy. Prosecutors said she managed the finances of "Project Lakhta", troll farm designed "to sow discord in the USA political system". The feds charged a 44-year-old Russian woman, Elena Khusyaynova, with conspiracy to defraud the USA, reports the Washington Post.

The U.S.is concerned about the campaigns "to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies", the officials said in a joint statement.

The prosecution of Khusyaynova is being handled by the United States attorney's office in Alexandria, Virginia, rather than by Robert Mueller, the special counsel who continues to investigate Russia's attack on the election in 2016.

But Trump recently accused China of meddling in the midterms, and Vice President Mike Pence said in a speech this month that Russia's actions in 2016 pale in comparison to the covert and overt activities by China to interfere in the current elections and counter Trump's tough trade policies against Beijing. "These activities also may seek to influence voter perceptions and decision making in the 2018 and 2020 US elections".

Justice Department's criminal complaint says Elena Khusyaynova worked for the same Russian social media troll farm that was indicted in February by special counsel Robert Mueller; chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports from Capitol Hill.

The criminal complaint includes specific examples of how a member of the conspiracy instructed people to post about certain news items, including commentary by syndicated radio host Michael Savage, Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs, and "CNN's Pro-Jeb!"

A criminal complaint against Khusyaynova does not include any allegation that the conspiracy had an effect on the outcome of a US election.

The criminal complaint unsealed on Friday makes Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, the first individual to be indicted for attempting to interfere in the 2018 USA elections, according to a government official with knowledge of the matter.

The issue is a particularly fraught one for federal prosecutors.

The Russian operatives discussed how to influence public opinion.

Former FBI Director James B. Comey faced criticism for talking publicly on the eve of the election about the bureau resuming its investigation of Hillary Clinton, while keeping secret the separate probe into possible ties between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.



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