First Russian charged with attempted meddling in U.S. election

Russian woman charged with political interference in next month's midterm elections

Mr Prigozhin, known as "Putin's cook", is a former hot dog salesman and associate of the Russian president who allegedly funded a "troll factory"...

Khusyaynova, who is a resident of St. Petersburg, Russia, and is not in USA custody, billed Prigozhin and his companies to pay for advertisements on Facebook, bloggers, and for "development accounts" on Twitter, the complaint says.

The U.S.is concerned about the foreign campaigns "to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies", said the statement from national security officials.

The case against Khusyaynova was unsealed on the same day that United States law enforcement and intelligence agencies issued a warning about attempts by Russia, China, Iran and other foreign entities to interfere with 6 November congressional elections, in which Trump's Republicans are trying to maintain majority power in Congress, and national elections in 2020.

The statement noted that, despite attempts to penetrate election infrastructure, there was no sign that foreign hackers had compromised any systems such as voter registration databases or voting machines.

In February, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office indicted Concord Management and Concord Catering for an alleged criminal and espionage conspiracy to tamper with the 2016 USA presidential elections.

Given the breadth of alleged interference by Russian Federation, which includes the hacking of Democratic email accounts ahead of the 2016 presidential election, it was notable that the intelligence community identified two other nations - China and Iran - in the same statement.




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

In this photo from June 21, 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Influence operations from those nations include use of social media to amplify divisive issues, seeding disinformation about political candidates and sponsoring content in English-language media, four intelligence and law enforcement agencies said in a joint statement.

The Khusyaynova case shows "in detail that when we talk about Russian interference it is not something in history it is now", Carlin said.

Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Homeland Security Departments have set up foreign influence task forces to detect such operations and share threat information within the government, with tech firms and state and local election officials.

Mueller, whose work is ongoing, charged a dozen Russian military officers with hacking Democrats' computers, as well as 13 people and three companies who his prosecutors' allege ran an online propaganda operation to push voters away from Hillary Clinton and toward Donald Trump in 2016.

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said his country has no intention to interfere in the midterm elections in the United States or meddle elsewhere.

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