The 2018 mid-term elections haven’t happened yet, but the U.S. is bringing the first charges for meddling in the results.
The DOJ has brought criminal charges over alleged Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections against Elena Khusyaynova, 44, a St. Petersburg, Russia-based accountant. Khusyaynova charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. for her role in a scheme to spend over $10 million in 2018 on targeted social media ads and online ads intending “to sow division and discord in the U.S. political system.”
Khusyaynova allegedly works for Concord, a Russia-based firm that Robert Mueller’s office indicted 7 months ago for alleged interference in the 2016 election.
The new charge signals that the fight from U.S. law enforcement is not giving up in efforts in investigating and fighting alleged Russian interference in U.S. election.
These “ongoing campaigns” seek to “undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies,” said Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, FBI heads, and the departments of Justice and Homeland Security in a joint statement.
The statement concluded that the activities are attempts to sway voter opinions and decisions about the 2018 mid-term elections and 2020 presidential election.
This new charge is not being handled by Robert Mueller’s team, but rather by federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Va., which is being viewed by some as a signal that Mueller’s investigation won’t become an open-ended probe continuing through the 2018 election or beyond.
Internet Research Agency and Concord Management and Consulting are said to be at the center of the political interference drive. The firms are both linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman and restaurateur known as President Vladimir Putin’s “chef.”