Russian woman charged with alleged 'information warfare' against U.S. midterms

Russian Woman Accused of Trying to Sway Midterms

US charges Russian woman with interfering in 2018 midterms

She is the first individual to be indicted for attempting to interfere in the 2018 US elections, according to a government official with knowledge of the matter.

Mueller's office indicted Prighozin and 12 other Russian nationals in February on charges including interference in the 2016 presidential election.

A Russian national was charged by the US for allegedly being one of the masterminds behind a conspiracy to interfere in both the 2016 and 2018 elections, marking the first charges related to next month's congressional midterm vote.

The charges, filed Friday in the Eastern District of Virginia, accuse Elena A. Khusyaynova of St. Petersburg with using social media platforms to create thousands of social media and e-mail accounts - appearing to be from US persons - to "create and amplify divisive social media and political content".

Intelligence officials said a year ago that Russian Federation sought to influence the 2016 presidential election through similar means.

Elena Khusyaynova, the woman charged by the DOJ, was apparently the chief accountant for this project funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch who's been referred to as "Putin's chef". In an odd bit of timing, the indictment was announced just minutes after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence expressed concernthat China, Iran and Russian Federation could seek to undermine confidence in the November 6 midterm elections, when control of the US Congress is up for grabs.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating potential collusion between people connected to U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian Federation. "These activities also may seek to influence voter perceptions and decision-making in the 2018 and 2020 United States elections".

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The prosecution of Khusyaynova is being handled by the USA attorney's office in Alexandria, Virginia, rather than by Robert Mueller, the special counsel who continues to investigate Russia's attack on the election in 2016.

Justice Department officials believe she helped manage the finances of Project Lakhta, a branch of the Kremlin's foreign influence operations.

The new prosecution was brought not by Mueller but by the Justice Department's national security division and prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia.

It said there had not been any evidence that foreign hackers had compromised any election infrastructure such as voter registration databases or voting machines. Examples include attempts to influence voters through social media, sponsoring content in English language media such as the Russian outlet RT, or "seeding disinformation through sympathetic spokespersons regarding political candidates and disseminating foreign propaganda".

China has denied that it is interfering in USA affairs.

So far, they said, state and local officials have been able to prevent access or quickly mitigate these attempts.

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