BY: TANNER KENNEY
What: Synopsis of Today’s Justice Dept. Indictments Of 13 Russian Individuals For Alleged Interference In the 2016 Election
When: February 16th, 2018
During a press conference earlier today in Washington, D.C., Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced that indictments had been issued by a grand jury against thirteen Russian nationals and three multinational organizations for crimes related to interference in the 2016 elections. Rosenstein emphasized that no entities, persons or otherwise, from the United States are implicated in the thirty-seven-page document.
Rosenstein spoke briefly, but directly, about the indictments and their implications. More specifically, he elaborated that one individual, a Russian oligarch named Yevgeny Prigozhin, used his vast financial reserves and political influence to send Russian agents to the Unites States in 2014 and set-up the “Internet Research Agency, LLC.” – a clandestine operation tasked with spreading disinformation about political candidates on both sides of the aisle and attempting to sow general “distrust” in the American political system through social media amongst the general public.
The indictments arose from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, itself generating guilty pleas from members of President Trump’s campaign and administrative teams. This includes a previously-undisclosed plea-agreement with a California man accused of using stolen identities to help aid the operation.
When coupled, the guilty pleas and indictments signal the beginning of the public-facing portion of Mueller’s investigation, which has thus far provided little guidance to the press and public regarding its ultimate goals since its inception. This is to-be expected as the investigation relies upon a multitude of individuals – both in the government and members of the public – in various organizations and sectors that must coordinate secretly to avoid a bevy of negative outcomes.
Lastly, this investigation shows no signs of slowing, and today’s dramatic announcement of these indictments may have far-reaching consequences far beyond the thirteen individuals and three organizations named – they could serve as the basis for both conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges against a multitude of additional individuals and organizations, alike.
Tanner Kenney is an energy and media professional with a background in journalism and received his M.S. in Global Affairs, Environment & Energy Policy from NYU’s Center for Global Affairs. Recently, Tanner has focused on the advocacy of sustainable development through renewable energy technologies, transportation efficiency, and inclusive public policy.