Russian woman charged with U.S. election-meddling

President Trump has often dismissed Robert Mueller’s inquiry into election meddling as a “witch-hunt” but prosecutors have charged a Russian woman with trying to influence next month’s elections

Project Lakhta is allegedly funded by Russian oligarch and associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, and two companies he controls.

It is believed to be the first federal case alleging Russian interference in this year's election.

Those allegedly involved in the operation attempted to present themselves as Americans, the DOJ said. The complaint also does not allege that any American knowingly participated in the Project Lakhta operation.

The criminal complaint unsealed on Friday makes Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, 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.

"The actors also developed playbooks and strategic messaging documents that offered guidance on how to target particular social groups, including the timing of messages, the types of news outlets to use, and how to frame divisive messages", the DOJ said. John McCain (R-AZ) as an "old geezer" who had a "pathological hatred" towards Trump.

But Trump recently accused China of meddling in the midterms, and Vice President Mike Pence said in a speech this month that Russia's actions in 2016 pale in comparison to the covert and overt activities by China to interfere in the current elections and counter Trump's tough trade policies against Beijing.

China not manipulating currency but lacks transparency, United States says
"That's costing us about $300 million per year in - in the United States and that's what we're trying to fix", the official said. Officials stressed that the goal is not to leave the UPU, even as they announced Trump's intention to withdraw from the treaty.

A new Department of Justice court indictment reveals detailed tactics that Russian operatives allegedly used to influence American opinion ahead of the upcoming elections.

The officials have cited largely public steps taken by China, such as aiming tariffs at politically important states and pressuring US businesses to speak out against the Trump administration.

"This effort was not only created to spread distrust towards candidates for USA political office and the US political system in general, but also to defraud the United States by impeding the lawful functions of government agencies in administering relevant federal requirements", the news release said.

And, according to the Justice Department, they "took advantage of specific events in the United States to anchor their themes", including the racially-motivated shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina, church three years ago that left nine people dead, and the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally last year that left one woman dead.

The agencies said they now do not have any evidence that voting systems have been disrupted or compromised in ways that could result in changing vote counts or hampering the ability to tally votes in the midterms, which are fewer than 20 days away.

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

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