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They also relied on identity theft, stealing and then using the social security numbers, home addresses and birthdates of real Americans without their knowledge, the indictment says.
The operatives set up bank accounts at a federally insured bank, set up accounts at PayPal using stolen identities and fake drivers' licences, and purchased fraudulent credit card and bank account numbers at as many as six US banks.
The operatives even received money from real Americans who wanted to use the Russian-backed social media pages for their own promotions, the indictment says.
The false identities and accounts aided the covert purchase of internet advertising, circumventing laws to prevent foreign influence in US politics.
That groundwork also helped to stage political rallies.
While posing as American political activists, the operatives paid people in the US to promote or disparage candidates.
Starting in June 2016, just weeks after Mr Trump had officially clinched the Republican nomination, the Russians upped the ante on their clandestine work.
They began to organise and coordinate pro-Trump political rallies.
To build interest, the Russians promoted the events using their "false US persona social media accounts", contacting unwitting American administrators of large social media groups focusing on US political issues.
Using fake pro-Trump Facebook and Twitter accounts, the Russians touted two political rallies in New York, one slated for June 25, 2016, and a second for July 23.
The Russians soon grew bold enough to enlist unwitting Americans in their efforts.
One was asked to build a cage on a flatbed truck, while a second American was asked to wear a costume portraying Mrs Clinton in a prison uniform.
The Russians, the indictment notes, "paid these individuals to complete the requests".
On June 5, someone posing as an American activist used the Twitter account @March_for_Trump to contact an unnamed Trump campaign volunteer in New York.
The Trump volunteer "agreed to provide signs for the March for Trump rally", the indictment alleges.
That internet contact came four days before senior Trump campaign officials, including Mr Trump's son, Donald Junior, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met in person with a group of representatives for Russian interests at Trump Tower.
The Trump Tower meeting — separately being investigated by the special counsel — is not cited in the indictment and is not known to have any connection with the allegations detailed in it.
By August, the Russian group had moved its sights to Florida, a key swing state, again using false IDs to contact Trump campaign staff involved in Florida activities.
The Russians used Facebook and Instagram to promote a series of "Florida Goes Trump" rallies on August 20.
Using a false persona known as "Matt Skiber", the Russians messaged Florida-based Trump supporters.
"Hi there!" the fake Skiber allegedly wrote. "I'm a member of Being Patriotic online community. Listen, we've got an idea."
Skiber suggested "organising a YUGE pro-Trump flash mob" in every Florida town.
"We've got the folks who are OK to be in charge of organising the events almost everywhere in FL. However, we still need your support. What do you think about that? Are you in?"
Trump won the election in Florida by just under 120,000 votes out of more than 9 million cast.
The operation also targeted minority communities to exploit racial fissures and suppress Democratic votes.
On October 16, 2016 — three weeks before the US election — the Russian-controlled Instagram account "Woke Blacks" encouraged followers not to go to the polls, saying hatred of Mr Trump was "forcing" black people to vote for "Killary".
The account said: "We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we'd surely be better off without voting AT ALL."
Even after Mr Trump won the presidency, the Russians continued to fuel his popularity with ersatz rallies, while at the same time using their false identifies to provoke anti-Trump rallies.
One anti-Trump rally was held four days after the election in New York. It was called "Trump is NOT my President".
A week later another protest was held in Charlotte, North Carolina and was described as "Charlotte Against Trump".
As reports of Russian influence began to surface in the US media, the operatives noticed.
In September, Facebook said it had found evidence of Russians buying ads on its platform.
Prosecutors cited an email by Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina to a family member on September 13 that said: "We had a slight crisis here at work: the FBI busted our activity [not a joke]."
"So I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with colleagues."http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-17/russian-defendants-conduct-information-warfare-against-the
So ALL that work... ALL that planning...
Well... America has lost it's standing in the world and people are looking to Europe more and more.
America is becoming more isolated, cutting trade deals and walling themselves off.
Trump is an international laughing stock that no one takes seriously and no one even wants to talk to at world summits.
If this goes on to 2024... America may never recover.
Which leaves Russia and China as the new Superpowers.
As evil plans go, it doesn't suck.
And it will succeed if people keep denying anything is happening.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has filed a new indictment against former Trump campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, according to court records.
The indictment, filed in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, includes tax and bank fraud charges against Mr Manafort and Mr Gates, who had pleaded not guilty to federal criminal charges Mr Mueller initially filed against them last October.
The two men were initially charged last October in a 12-count indictment that accused them of a multimillion-dollar money-laundering conspiracy tied to their foreign lobbying work.
The additional charges involve much of the same conduct Mr Manafort and Mr Gates were initially charged with, but they increase the amount of money the former is accused of laundering through offshore accounts to $US30 million ($38 million).
The charges against Mr Manafort and Mr Gates do not relate to any allegations of misconduct related to Mr Trump's campaign.
The new indictment accuses the two men of doctoring documents to inflate the income of their businesses and then using those fraudulent documents to obtain loans.
It also accuses Mr Manafort of evading taxes from 2010 through 2014 and in some of the years concealing his foreign bank accounts.
This is certainly suspicious.
If Gates was guilty of fraud and conspiracy, then why let him off?
Unless he flipped to save himself and has offered up a bigger fish for Mueller to fry.
Listen to me... I watch WAY too many crime shows.
US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, has lost access to the most valued US intelligence report, the President's Daily Brief, as the White House imposes greater discipline on access to secrets.
Two US officials familiar with the matter said on Tuesday that Mr Kushner, who has been operating under an interim security clearance for about a year, had his access to the highly classified briefing cut off in the past few weeks.
A third official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein recently passed new information to White House Counsel Don McGahn that led to the slowing or stopping of Mr Kushner's pending clearance application.
The nature of that information was not clear.
It also was unclear if and when Mr Kushner's access to the President's Daily Brief, which requires not only a Top Secret clearance, but also access to even more closely guarded intelligence, would be reinstated.
Mr Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement: "Mr Kushner has done more than what is expected of him in this process."
"My inquiries … have confirmed that there are a dozen or more people at Mr Kushner's level whose process is delayed, that it is not uncommon for this process to take this long in a new administration, that the current backlogs are being addressed, and no concerns were raised about Mr Kushner's application," Mr Lowell said.
The President's Daily Brief is distributed to a small number of top-level US officials. It includes highly classified intelligence analysis, information about CIA covert operations and reports from the most sensitive US sources or those shared by allied intelligence agencies.
Could be a spanking, could just be standard bureaucracy.
House of Intelligence Committee Republicans have shut down their investigation of Russia and the 2016 US election as one GOP member claims the panel has lost all credibility.
Committee Republicans released an overview of their probe, saying it found no collusions between US President Donald Trump's associates and Moscow's efforts to influence the campaign.
"We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians," committee Republicans said as they released an overview of their probe.
Republican committee member Tom Rooney was questioned as to why the Republicans wrapped up their investigation while others, including the FBI's, were still ongoing.
"We have gone completely off the rails, and now we're basically a political forum for people to leak information to drive the day's news," he told CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront program.
"We have lost all credibility and we're going to issue probably two different reports, unfortunately.
"So in that regard, that's why I called for the investigation to end."
Mr Rooney said he also believed there was evidence to suggest Russia did play a part in helping Mr Trump get elected.
"I certainly think there's evidence of that," he said.
"I don't know if there was a full-fledged campaign to do everything they could to elect Donald Trump — I think their goal was chaos."
The Republican member also said he believed Russia did not like Mr Trump's Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
Mr Rooney believed Mr Trump was helped by Russian propaganda, but thought "Russia was just generally trying to hurt everybody".
He said he expected the Democrats would issue their own report suggesting there was collusion.
Personal memos kept by sacked former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe detailing his interactions with President Donald Trump have been provided to special counsel Robert Mueller's office, it has been revealed.
The notes are believed to be similar to those compiled by dismissed FBI chief James Comey.
The memos could factor into Mr Mueller's investigation as his team examines Trump campaign ties to Russia and possible obstruction of justice.
Mr McCabe was long scorned by Mr Trump and was fired by Attorney-General Jeff Sessions on Friday (local time).
His memos include details of his own interactions with the President, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation who wasn't authorised to discuss the notes publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
They also recount different conversations he had with Mr Comey, who kept notes on meetings with Mr Trump that unnerved him.
Though the precise contents are unknown, the memos possibly could help substantiate Mr McCabe's assertion that he was unfairly maligned by a White House he says had declared "war" on the FBI and Mr Mueller's investigation.
They almost certainly contain, as Mr Comey's memos did, previously undisclosed details about encounters between the Trump administration and the FBI that could be of interest to Mr Mueller.
The disclosure on Saturday came hours after Mr Trump called Mr McCabe's firing by Mr Sessions "a great day for Democracy" and asserted without elaboration that Mr McCabe knew "all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels off the FBI!"
Does Trump even understand the consequences of making a powerful enemy?
US President Donald Trump has lashed out at Russia probe special counsel Robert Mueller, signalling a possible shift away from a strategy of cooperating with a probe he believes is biased against him.
In a series of weekend tweets naming Mr Mueller for the first time, Mr Trump criticised the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and raised fresh concerns about the objectivity and political leanings of the members of Mr Mueller's team.
"The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime," Mr Trump tweeted.
"It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!"
Mr Trump was referring to a dossier of anti-Trump research funded by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton's campaign.
The New York Times reported last week that Mr Mueller had subpoenaed the Trump Organisation and requested Russia-related documents.
Mr Trump had said Mr Mueller would cross a red line with such a step.
"Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?" Mr Trump tweeted.
Some of Mr Mueller's investigators indeed have contributed to Democratic political candidates, but US Justice Department policy and federal service law bar discrimination in the hiring of career positions on the basis of political affiliation.
Mr Mueller is a Republican.