The intelligence community has spoken with one voice for more than a year about its unanimous findings that Russia interfered with the 2016 United States election. Nonetheless, President Donald Trump, fearful that acknowledging Russian interference would cast doubt on the legitimacy of his win, has vacillated between tepid acknowledgement and skepticism that anything of the kind ever happened. Polls have shown that most of his supporters, following his lead, don’t believe Russia interfered.
Friday’s indictment of three Russian organizations and 13 Russian individuals for their roles in interfering with the election should finally put any such skepticism to rest.
Federal investigators and prosecutors, and a grand jury, have now found probable cause to believe that a complex web of Russian organizations and agents executed a years-long scheme to undermine our elections—first to sow chaos, conflict and doubt into our electoral system and then specifically to support Donald Trump and oppose Hillary Clinton.
These are not vague allegations; over 37 pages, the indictment lays out in careful detail a step-by-step scheme involving identity theft, fake accounts, carefully orchestrated trips and outreach, a concerted social media strategy and even real live rallies across the United States secretly planned from Russia.