How Russia Won Donald Trump The Presidency [In-Depth]
Putting Trump in the White House has been good for Russia. One must credit Vladimir Putin as truly the leader of the world when considering the sheer power he exerts. Three days ago he militarily invaded Venezuela with a hundred or so troops as a follow-on to many hundreds of Russian mercenaries and ‘sleeper cells’ hiding in the boondocks of the Amazon Basin of that country.
Why Putin Wanted Trump? Seizing a country can take a day or two if nobody stands in the way.
On 4 June of 2014, the Islamic State invaded Mosul, Iraq. We watched a few Toyota Hilux trucks scoot along Nineveh Street on the Right Coast. By 14 June 2014 it took less than 100 mixed foreign fighters and local ISIS fighters to seize the city. It’s not as if the skies turn black with parachutes as Hollywood tends to project.
Now Russia has Venezuela, Crimea, Syria. Ukraine?
Trump’s America left Venezuela abruptly on 12 March, leaving the gate open, pulling out its embassy lock, stock and barrel. Within two weeks, Russia had hundreds of regular troops and mercenaries on the ground in Caracas as an AN-124 began cargo missions on Saturday. Read if you wish -> Game changer in Venezuela: Russian Military Forces Arrive
The U.S. will withdraw all remaining personnel from @usembassyve this week. This decision reflects the deteriorating situation in #Venezuela as well as the conclusion that the presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S. policy.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 12, 2019
But this is not a story about why Putin wanted Trump in the White House, it’s about how Vladimir Putin put Trump in the white House.
The Indictable Project Lakhta – (To Win The US Election for Donald Trump)
This is a story about a social media troll farm in Russia known as The Internet Research Agency LLC
– and –
a hard-core pair of ultra-high-tech cyberspace Military (GRU) Spy Groups hacking into American computers to defeat Hillary Clinton.
The Social Media Blitz from Russia with Love for Donald Trump
The Accused Corporate Entity
- Internet Research Agency Llc
- a.k.a Mediasintez Llc
- a.k.a Glavset Llc
- a.k.a Mixinfo Llc
- a.k.a Azimut Llc
- a.k.a Novinfo Llc,
The Funding Provider: Concord Management And Consulting Llc, and Concord Catering.
The accused hacker and social media fraud persons:
- Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin,
- Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov,
- Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik A.K.A Mikhail Abramov,
- Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova,
- Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva,
- Sergey Pavlovich Polozov,
- Maria Anatolyevna Bovda A.K.A Maria Anatolyevna Belyaeva,
- Robert Sergeyevich Bovda,
- Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly Aslanov A.K.A Jayhoon Aslanov A.K.A Jay Aslanov,
- Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev,
- Gleb Igorevich Vasilchenko,
- Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina, and
- Vladimir Venkov.
Some of the Allegations of Acts Targeting the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
- By approximately May 2014, the accused and their co-conspirators discussed efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
- They began to monitor U.S. social media accounts and other sources of information about the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
- By 2016, the accused and their co-conspirators used unknown numbers of fictitious online fake-American personas to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
- They engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and their candidate, Donald Trump.
- On or about February 10, 2016, they internally circulated an outline of themes for future content to be posted to controlled social media accounts. Specialists were instructed to post content that focused on “politics in the USA” and to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them).”
- On or about September 14, 2016, in an internal review of a Facebook group called “Secured Borders,” an account specialist was criticized for having a “low number of posts dedicated to criticizing Hillary Clinton” and was told “it is imperative to intensify criticizing Hillary Clinton” in future posts.
- Certain of the accused’s intercepted materials about the 2016 U.S. presidential election used election-related hashtags, including: “#Trump2016,” “#TrumpTrain,” “#MAGA,” “#IWontProtectHillary,” and “#Hillary4Prison.”
- Defendants and their co-conspirators also established additional online social media accounts dedicated to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, including the Twitter account “March for Trump” and Facebook accounts “Clinton FRAUDation” and “Trumpsters United.”
Intelligence for Directing the Russian Trump Social Media Campaign
In order to collect electioneering intelligence, the accused and their co-conspirators posed as U.S. persons and contacted U.S. political and social activists.
For example, starting in or around June 2016, the accused and their co-conspirators, posing online as U.S. persons, communicated with a real U.S. person affiliated with a Texas-based grassroots organization.
During the exchange, the accused learned from the real U.S. person that they should focus their activities on “purple states like Colorado, Virginia & Florida.”
After that exchange, the accused commonly referred to targeting “purple states” in directing their efforts.
Through fraud and deceit, the accused created hundreds of realistic social media accounts and used them to develop certain fictitious U.S. personas into “leader[s] of public opinion” in the United States.
Employees of the accused corporate entity, referred to as “specialists,” were tasked to create social media accounts that appeared to be operated by U.S. persons. The specialists were divided into day-shift and night-shift hours and instructed to make posts in accordance with the appropriate U.S. time zone.
The accused corporate entity also circulated lists of U.S. holidays so that specialists could develop and post appropriate account activity.
Specialists were instructed to write about topics germane to the United States such as U.S. foreign policy and U.S. economic issues. Specialists were directed to create “political intensity through supporting radical groups, users dissatisfied with social and economic situations and opposition social movements.”
The accused also created thematic group pages on social media sites, particularly on the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram.
Accused-controlled pages addressed a range of issues, including: immigration (with group names including “Secured Borders”); the Black Lives Matter movement (with group names including “Blacktivist”); religion (with group names including “United Muslims of America” and “Army of Jesus”); and certain geographic regions within the United States (with group names including “South United” and “Heart of Texas”).
By 2016, the size of many accused-controlled groups had grown to hundreds of thousands of online followers.
Social Media Advertising
Project Lakhta Ran Advertising on Social Media to Discredit Hillary Clinton. Facebook received much of this money.
Starting at least in 2015, the accused and their co-conspirators began to purchase advertisements on online social media sites to promote their controlled social media groups.
The monthly budget for Project Lakhta submitted exceeded 73 million Russian rubles (over 1,250,000 U.S. dollars), including approximately one million rubles in bonus payments.
To conceal its involvement, the accused labeled the monies paid for Project Lakhta as payments related to software support and development.
To further conceal the source of funds, the provider distributed monies to the accused corporate entity through approximately fourteen bank accounts held in the names of affiliates, including Glavnaya Liniya LLC, Merkuriy LLC, Obshchepit LLC, Potentsial LLC, RSP LLC, ASP LLC, MTTs LLC, Kompleksservis LLC, SPb Kulinariya LLC, Almira LLC, Pishchevik LLC, Galant LLC, Rayteks LLC, and Standart LLC.
Here is a period example of advertising that began in 2015. This example schedule is the 8 months prior to Election 2016
|Approx Start Date of Example||Theme of Example Advertisement
Intense Budget $1.2 million per month
|April 6, 2016||“You know, a great number of black people support us saying that #HillaryClintonIsNotMyPresident”|
|April 7, 2016||“I say no to Hillary Clinton / I say no to manipulation”|
|April 19, 2016||“JOIN our #HillaryClintonForPrison2016”|
|May 10, 2016||“Donald wants to defeat terrorism . . . Hillary wants to sponsor it”|
|May 19, 2016||“Vote Republican, vote Trump, and support the Second Amendment!”|
|May 24, 2016||“Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote”|
|June 7, 2016||“Trump is our only hope for a better future!”|
|June 30, 2016||“#NeverHillary #HillaryForPrison #Hillary4Prison #HillaryForPrison2016 #Trump2016 #Trump #Trump4President”|
|July 20, 2016||“Ohio Wants Hillary 4 Prison”|
|August 4, 2016||“Hillary Clinton has already committed voter fraud during the Democrat Iowa Caucus.”|
|August 10, 2016||“We cannot trust Hillary to take care of our veterans!”|
|October 14, 2016||“Among all the candidates Donald Trump is the one and only who can defend the police from terrorists.”|
|October 19, 2016||“Hillary is a Satan, and her crimes and lies had proved just how evil she is.”|
Fake Social Media Account Crowds
The accused and their co-conspirators also created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts designed to appear as if U.S. persons or groups controlled them. For example, the the accused corporate entity created and controlled the Twitter account “Tennessee GOP,” which used the handle @TEN_GOP. The @TEN_GOP account falsely claimed to be controlled by a U.S. state political party. Over time, the @TEN_GOP account attracted more than 100,000 online followers.
To measure the impact of their online social media operations, the accused corporate entity and co-conspirators tracked the performance of content they posted over social media. They tracked the size of the online U.S. audiences reached through posts, different types of engagement with the posts (such as likes, comments, and re-posts), changes in audience size, and other metrics. Defendants and their co-conspirators received and maintained metrics reports on certain group pages and individualized posts.
The accused regularly evaluated the content posted by specialists (sometimes referred to as “content analysis”) to ensure they appeared authentic—as if operated by U.S. persons. Specialists received feedback and directions to improve the quality of their posts.
Specialists issued or received guidance on: ratios of text, graphics, and video to use in posts; the number of accounts to operate; and the role of each account (for example, differentiating a main account from which to post information and auxiliary accounts to promote a main account through links and reposts).
Use of U.S. Computer Infrastructure
To hide their Russian identities and affiliation top the accused corporate entity affiliation, the accused and their co-conspirators—particularly Polozov and the IT department—purchased space on computer servers located inside the United States in order to set up virtual private networks (“VPNs”). Defendants and their co-conspirators connected from Russia to the U.S. based infrastructure by way of these VPNs and conducted activity inside the United States— including accessing online social media accounts, opening new accounts, and communicating with real U.S. persons—while masking the Russian origin and control of the activity.
The accused and their co-conspirators also registered and controlled hundreds of web-based email accounts hosted by U.S. email providers under false names so as to appear to be U.S. persons and groups. From these accounts, Defendants and their co-conspirators registered or linked to online social media accounts in order to monitor them; posed as U.S. persons when requesting assistance from real U.S. persons; contacted media outlets in order to promote activities inside the United States; and conducted other operations.
Use of Stolen U.S. Identities
In or around 2016, the accused and their co-conspirators also used, possessed, and transferred, without lawful authority, the social security numbers and dates of birth of real U.S. persons without those persons’ knowledge or consent. Using these means of identification, the accused and their co-conspirators opened accounts at PayPal, a digital payment service provider; created false means of identification, including fake driver’s licenses; and posted on accused corporate entity-controlled social media accounts using the identities of these U.S. victims. Defendants and their co-conspirators also obtained, and attempted to obtain, false identification documents to use as proof of identity in connection with maintaining accounts and purchasing advertisements on social media sites.
The Russian GRU Cyber Unit Subterfuge Operations Against Donald Trump’s Opponents
The Russian Federation (“Russia”) operates a military intelligence agency called the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (“GRU”). The GRU had multiple units, including Units 26165 and 74455, engaged in cyber operations that involved the staged releases of documents stolen through computer intrusions.
These units conducted large-scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The following persons are accused of crimes against the United States. They are each operators and officers within the GRU and as such have been indicted by a US Grand Jury.
The GRU Russian Spies Who Helped Donald Trump Win Using the Military Apparatus of the Russian Federation
- Viktor Borisovich Netyksho, Russian military officer in command of Unit 26165, located at 20 Komsomolskiy Prospekt, Moscow, Russia.
- Boris Alekseyevich Antonov, Major in the Russian military assigned to Unit 26165. Antonov oversaw a department within Unit 26165 dedicated to targeting military, political, governmental, and non-governmental organizations with spearphishing emails and other computer intrusion activity. Antonov held the title “Head of Department.”
- Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, Russian military officer assigned to Unit 26165 who held the title “Assistant Head of Department.”
- Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Russian military officer assigned to Antonov’s department within Unit 26165. Since in or around 2010, Yermakov used various online personas, including “Kate S. Milton,” “James McMorgans,” and “Karen W. Millen,” to conduct hacking operations on behalf of Unit 26165.
- Aleksey Viktorovich Lukashev, Senior Lieutenant in the Russian military assigned to Antonov’s department within Unit 26165. Lukashev used various online personas, including “Den Katenberg” and “Yuliana Martynova.” In or around 2016, Lukashev sent spearphishing emails to members of the Clinton Campaign and affiliated individuals, including the chairperson of the Clinton Campaign
- Sergey Aleksandrovich Morgachev, Lieutenant Colonel in the Russian military assigned to Unit 26165. Morgachev oversaw a department within Unit 26165 dedicated to developing and managing malware, including a hacking tool used by the GRU known as “X-Agent.” During the hacking of the DCCC and DNC networks, Morgachev supervised the co-conspirators who developed and monitored the X-Agent malware implanted on those computers.
- Nikolay Yuryevich Kozachek, Lieutenant Captain in the Russian military assigned to Morgachev’s department within Unit 26165. Kozachek used a variety of monikers, including “kazak” and “blablabla1234565.” Kozachek developed, customized, and monitored X-Agent malware used to hack the DCCC and DNC networks beginning in or around April 2016.
- Pavel Vyacheslavovich Yershov, Russian military officer assigned to Morgachev’s department within Unit 26165. In or around 2016, Yershov assisted Kozachek and other co-conspirators in testing and customizing X-Agent malware before actual deployment and use.
- Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, Second Lieutenant in the Russian military assigned to Morgachev’s department within Unit 26165. Malyshev used a variety of monikers, including “djangomagicdev” and “realblatr.” In or around 2016, Malyshev monitored X-Agent malware implanted on the DCCC and DNC networks.
- Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk, Colonel in the Russian military and the commanding officer of Unit 74455. Unit 74455 was located at 22 Kirova Street, Khimki, Moscow, a building referred to within the GRU as the “Tower.” Unit 74455 assisted in the release of stolen documents through the DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 personas, the promotion of those releases, and the publication of anti-Clinton content on social media accounts operated by the GRU.
- Aleksey Aleksandrovich Potemkin, officer in the Russian military assigned to Unit 74455. POTEMKIN was a supervisor in a department within Unit 74455 responsible for the administration of computer infrastructure used in cyber operations. Infrastructure and social media accounts administered by Potemkin’s department were used, among other things, to assist in the release of stolen documents through the DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 personas.
- Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev, Russian military GRU officer assigned to Unit 74455 who worked in the GRU’s 22 Kirova Street building (the Tower).
The over riding object of the mission these Russian spies were conducting was to hack into protected American computers and servers of persons and entities charged with the administration of the 2016 U.S. elections in order to access those computers and steal voter data and other information stored on those computers.
What methods did these Russian Spies use to Help Donald Trump Win
1. These GRU officers knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other, and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury (collectively the “Conspirators”), to:
- a. gain unauthorized access (to “hack”) into the computers of U.S. persons and entities involved in the 2016 U.S. presidential election,
- b. steal documents from those computers, and
- c. stage releases of the stolen documents to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
2. Starting in at least March 2016, the Russian spies used a variety of means to hack the email accounts of volunteers and employees of the U.S. presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton (the “Clinton Campaign”), including the email account of the Clinton Campaign’s chairperson.
3. Around April 2016, the Russian spies also hacked into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (“DCCC”) and the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”).
4. The spies covertly monitored the computers of dozens of DCCC and DNC employees, implanted hundreds of files containing malicious computer code (“malware”), and stole emails and other documents from the DCCC and DNC.
5. By April 2016, the Russian spies began to plan the release of materials stolen from the Clinton Campaign, DCCC, and DNC.
6. Beginning June 2016, the Russian spies staged and released tens of thousands of the stolen emails and documents. They did so using fictitious online personas, including “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0.”
7. The Russian spies also used the Guccifer 2.0 persona to release additional stolen documents through a website maintained by an organization that had previously posted documents stolen from U.S. persons, entities, and the U.S. government. The Conspirators continued their U.S. election-interference operations through in or around November 2016.
8. To hide their connections to Russia and the Russian government, the Russian spies used false identities and made false statements about their identities. To further avoid detection, the Conspirators used a network of computers located across the world, including in the United States, and paid for this infrastructure using crypto currency.
- Donald Trump has repeatedly maintained he knew nothing about these enormous and highly visible activities in favour of his campaign.
- One of the most extraordinary results of the Russian campaigning style which was coupled with knowledge and synergy for Trump’s conman style is the birthing of a radical Cult that now endangers the stability of the United States and makes Vladimir Putin look good in global leadership roles.