WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller issued an indictment alleging that Russian operatives conspired to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of government for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016. The indictment alleges numerous instances in which the defendants used fake social media profiles to deceive African-American and other minority voters.
Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, issued the following statement:
“Today’s indictment makes clear that minority voter suppression is one of the greatest crises of our time, with forces both domestic and foreign working to deny African Americans and other minority communities a voice in American democracy. As the world’s oldest constitutional democracy, foreign interference in U.S. elections threatens our sovereignty and core values. The allegations set forth in the indictment today paint an astounding picture of Russians actively targeting African-American and Muslim voters with divisive propaganda and rhetoric. The indictment demonstrates that voter suppression is both a civil rights and national security issue.”
The indictment identifies a number of examples where the defendants attempted to deceive and manipulate minority voters through phony social media profiles impersonating Black Lives Matter supporters or Muslim American advocates. Some of these messages aimed to discourage minorities from voting. Other campaigns used racial or religious baiting to play on intolerance and racism.