Indictment alleges Russians tried to suppress minority vote in 2016

Indictment alleges Russians tried to suppress minority vote in 2016
© Getty Images

Federal prosecutors are alleging that Russians took steps to try to influence U.S. minority groups to not vote in the 2016 presidential election, according to a federal indictment filed Friday.

In the charges filed by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE’s office Friday, prosecutors claim that the Russians “began to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election or to vote for a third-party U.S. presidential candidate.”

The charges state that the Russians used an Instagram account called “Woke Blacks” to post a message reading, “A particular hype and hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Black to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’re surely be better off without voting AT ALL.”


Another message posted by the Russians on the Instagram account “Blacktivist” read, “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.” The post references the Green Party's presidential candidate in 2016.

And messages posted on Russian-run social media accounts called “United Muslims of America” also called for Muslims to boycott the election.

“American Muslims [are] boycotting elections today, most of the American Muslim voters refuse to vote for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPoll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona The Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts new immigration policy, backtracks on tax cuts Hickenlooper announces Senate bid MORE because she wants to continue the war on Muslims in the middle east and voted yes for invading Iraq,” one message read, according to the indictment.

Thirteen Russians and three Russian groups were charged Friday for interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections.

The indictment alleges that the Russians created false U.S. personas and stole the identities of real U.S. people in order to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

The charges echo past findings by U.S. intelligence, who have said Russians had interfered in the election.