Rosenstein: Russians sought to promote discord

Rosenstein: Russians sought to promote discord
© Getty Images

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 Jay RosensteinEx-Trump aide: Can’t imagine Mueller not giving House a ‘roadmap’ to impeachment Rosenstein: My time at DOJ is 'coming to an end' Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump 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 Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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." 

ADVERTISEMENT

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 SessionsEx-Trump aide: Can’t imagine Mueller not giving House a ‘roadmap’ to impeachment Rosenstein: My time at DOJ is 'coming to an end' Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump MORE recused himself from the Russian investigation — a move that deeply angered President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly US-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in pictures Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall 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.