The Slatest

Mueller Indictment Documents Russian Effort to Suppress Turnout of Nonwhite Voters

Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein on Feb. 2 in Washington, D.C.
Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein on Feb. 2 in Washington, D.C. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The topline takeaway of Friday’s special counsel indictment of 13 Russian nationals is probably that the Department of Justice has now officially documented a number of specific instances in which Russian operatives (allegedly) attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election. Many of these, at first glance, seem to have involved the kind of low-quality “Lock her up” content that right-wing social media accounts were already circulating organically; others were a little more devious. Here, for example, are three allegations that Russian operatives posed as Hillary Clinton–skeptical black and Muslim Americans in an attempt to suppress her support:


46. In or around the latter half of 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through their personas, began to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 US. presidential election or to vote for a third-party US. presidential candidate.

a. On or about October 16, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the lnstagram account “Woke Blacks” to post the following message: “[A] particular hype and hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’d surely be better off without voting AT ALL.”

b. On or about November 3, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators purchased an advertisement to promote a post on the lnstagram account “Blacktivist” that read in part: “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.”

c. By in or around early November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the “United Muslims of America” social media accounts to post anti-vote messages such as: “American Muslims [are] boycotting elections today, most of the American Muslim voters refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton because she wants to continue the war on Muslims in the middle east and voted yes for invading Iraq.”

The indictment, like other official U.S. accounts of Russian interference, does not attempt to draw any conclusions about the effectiveness of such activities in actually influencing the outcome of the election.

via Greg Sargent