Again, why are we breaking news on a Friday if it's 'significant'? Everyone knows that Friday afternoons are reserved for stuff we want headlines on but no real in-depth coverage. Most reporters have already head home for the weekend.
The indictment can be downloaded here and reads:
"From in or around 2014 to the present, Defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016."
No one will actually read the indictment and compare it to what happens in every election.
There's no value in doing so. Must keep the Left/Right arguing with each other at all costs. Leftists will claim "It is definitely starting to look like we have an illegitimate president" and Righties will proclaim 'Fake news!"
As an Intelligence Officer, I will tell you that election influence operations are the norm. It would actually be highly exceptional if an election wasn't being influenced by outside countries, non-profits, and donations. This only occurs in certain non-descript countries of zero geopolitical value which are few and far between.
Here are the charges:
- INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY, LLC was created as a 'software agency'
- INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY, LLC received funding from a Russian
- INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY, LLC operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences
- Social media pages posted divisive political and social issues
- Some 'defendants' traveled to the US under false pretenses (working in a software company)
- INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY, LLC posted derogatory information 'about a number of candidates' and 'disparaged Hillary Clinton'
- INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY, LLC bought political ads on social media
- Some defendants 'posed as US persons and communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign' hoping to coordinate political activities (they are not being charged with being successful, just trying)
- Defendants are charged with "making expenditures in connection with the 20167 U.S. presidential election without proper regulatory disclosure".
These are the charges?
On a scale of Influence-Operations up to Hacking-the-Election-OMG-Trump-is-Illegitimate, this represents child play that occurs in Every. Election. In. Every. Country.
That some Russians donated funding in order to influence an election should not be a surprise. We do the same thing.
Private citizens do the same thing.
George Soros has done this. In leaked documents from his Open Society Foundation George Soros even attempted to manipulate the 2016 Election Will Special Counsel also indict Soros? Will the EU nations bring an indictment against him and his 'Election Hacking"? That's the standard that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is attempting to establish in this indictment.
Additionally, bringing charges against foreign nationals is of no-value in the real world. Russia isn't going to find these defendants and ship them over. Quite the opposite, they're probably getting medals. Russia sincerely believed Hillary would go to war with them. Her record is clear on Russia
So we're not going to actually take the Russians to court, but by indicting them, Mueller can continue the narrative that this election was "different" or "illegitimate" or even "Hillary should have won" (which no one actually believes).
Who knows. Maybe it's a new world.
Maybe these Russians are all 'guilty' and now 'election influence' is no longer going to be part of our status quo. Not likely, but if so, will you hold the U.S. federal government to these same standards when we meddle in others' elections? Why or why not? How is it different?
How far back in history should we look when determining guilt of this occurring in the past?