Russian Woman Accused of Trying to Sway Midterms

US invents new ‘meddling’ charges to play ‘Russia card’ ahead of midterms- Moscow FM official

A Russian woman has become the first foreign national charged with interfering in the 2018 midterm elections.

It is alleged Ms Khusyaynova was the chief accountant for Project Lakhta, which was funded by Russian businessman Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering.

Khusyaynova is accused of taking part in the alleged conspiracy, which attempted to carry out "what it called internally 'information warfare against the United States, '" the DOJ said.

Khusyaynova and Project Lakhta are tied to the Russian agencies named in special counsel Robert Mueller's July federal indictment in Washington, D.C., against 12 Russian nationals for allegedly hacking the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The Justice Department unsealed the criminal complaint on the same day that USA intelligence agencies, in a rare public statement, asserted that Russia, China, Iran and other countries are engaged in continuous efforts to influence American policy and voters in the upcoming elections and beyond. "Some social media accounts posted tens of thousands of messages, and had tens of thousands of followers". John McCain's opposition to President Trump's border wall by describing McCain as "an old geezer who has lost it".

They statement did not provide specific examples of foreign interference.

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The case against Khusyaynova was unsealed in Alexandria, Virginia, and is not being handled by Mueller because it includes activities related to the 2018 elections, which are not part of his remit, the official familiar with the matter said. What remains to be seen is how and whether Mueller can connect President Trump or his campaign to those efforts.

Other countries are using social media to amplify divisive issues in American society and sponsor content in English-language media, such as Russia's RT and Sputnik news outlets, the security agencies' statement said.

"This effort was not only created to spread distrust towards candidates for USA political office and the US political system in general, but also to defraud the United States by impeding the lawful functions of government agencies in administering relevant federal requirements", the news release said.

The agencies said they now do not have any evidence that voting systems have been disrupted or compromised in ways that could result in changing vote counts or hampering the ability to tally votes in the midterms, which are fewer than 20 days away.

But so far, they said, state and local officials have been able to prevent access or quickly mitigate these attempts. Trump also signed an executive order last month authorizing additional sanctions against countries or people who interfere in USA elections, though some lawmakers say the measure does not go far enough.

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