Rosenstein: Russians sought to promote discord

Rosenstein: Russians sought to promote discord
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The Russians indicted on charges related to interference with the 2016 presidential election sought to undermine public trust in democracy and promote discord in the United States, Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWhy the presumption of innocence doesn't apply to Trump McCabe sues FBI, DOJ, blames Trump for his firing Rosenstein: Trump should focus on preventing people from 'becoming violent white supremacists' MORE said Friday in announcing the indictment.

“The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy," he said. "We must not allow them to succeed.”

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE on Friday charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for allegedly carrying out what they called “information warfare against the United States,” with the expressed goal of spreading “distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.” 

The eight-count indictment charges all of them with "criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States." 

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Rosenstein, the top Justice official overseeing Mueller, said the alleged conspiracy involved the creation of “hundreds of accounts” on different social media sites, purchased political advertisements and rallies. 

“This indictment serves as a reminder that people are not always who they appear to be on the internet,” Rosenstein said at a press conference.

Rosenstein has responsibility over Mueller because Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDOJ should take action against China's Twitter propaganda Lewandowski says he's 'happy' to testify before House panel The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MORE recused himself from the Russian investigation — a move that deeply angered President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE.

The deputy attorney general has also come under attack from some Republicans and from conservative groups, and there has been speculation that Trump could seek to dismiss him.

Rosenstein noted there is no allegation in the indictment that any American had any knowledge of the alleged conspiracy, and that the Russian defendants took steps to conceal their efforts.

He also said there is nothing in the indictment that concludes the effort altered the election.