Pres. Trump: Indictment of Russians shows ‘no collusion’ in 2016 election

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WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on the indictments in the special counsel’s Russia probe (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

“No collusion.” That’s the reaction of President Donald Trump to the indictment of 13 Russians and three Russian companies for plotting to meddle in the 2016 election.

The president tweeted Friday that the indictment shows, “The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”

The Russians were charged Friday with using social media propaganda aimed at helping Trump and harming the prospects of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump notes that the Russian influence campaign is alleged to have started in 2014, “long before” he declared his candidacy.

He says, “The results of the election were not impacted.”

In fact, while prosecutors have not alleged that meddling altered the election’s outcome, the indictment does not rule it out.

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3:15 p.m.

The online payment company PayPal has been unexpectedly drawn into the Russia probe. Federal prosecutors allege that Russian criminals used PayPal to help pay for propaganda aimed at influencing voters in the 2016 election.

Thirteen Russians and three Russian companies were charged Friday with plotting to interfere in the election.

In the indictment, prosecutors allege the defendants used PayPal as a primary conduit to transfer money for general expenses as well as to buy Facebook ads. Prosecutors say the accounts were opened using fake identities to help bypass PayPal’s security measures.

PayPal says it is cooperating with the Justice Department. A spokesman says, “PayPal is intensely focused on combatting and preventing the illicit use of” its services and works closely with law enforcement, including in this instance.

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2:40 p.m.

A California man has pleaded guilty to unwittingly selling bank accounts to Russians meddling in the US elections.

Richard Pinedo of Santa Paula pleaded guilty earlier this month to using stolen identities to set up bank accounts that were then used by the Russians. A Justice Department spokeswoman says Pinedo did not know at the time he was dealing with Russians.

The plea deal is the third in special counsel Robert Mueller’s continuing Russia probe. It was revealed the same day prosecutors charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies with an extensive scheme to meddle in the U.S. elections.

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2:20 p.m.

A Russian businessman known as “Putin’s chef” who was indicted Friday by federal prosecutors says “Americans are very impressionable people.” He says he’s not upset to be named in the indictment.

Thirteen Russians and three Russian companies were charged Friday with a plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election through social media propaganda.

The indictment says the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm, started interfering as early as 2014 in U.S. politics, extending to the 2016 presidential election.

The indictment says the agency was funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg businessman dubbed “Putin’s chef” because his restaurants and catering businesses once hosted the Kremlin leader’s dinners with foreign dignitaries.

Prigozhin was quoted by Russia’s state news agency as saying Americans “see what they want to see.”

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2:05 p.m.

One of those indicted in the Russia probe is a businessman with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Yevgeny Prigozhin (pree-GOH’-zhin) is an entrepreneur from St. Petersburg who’s been dubbed “Putin’s chef” by Russian media.

His restaurants and catering businesses have hosted the Kremlin leader’s dinners with foreign dignitaries. In the more than 10 years since establishing a relationship with Putin, his business has expanded to services for the military.

Prigozhin’s assets also include an oil trading firm that reportedly has been sending private Russian fighters to Syria. Prigozhin is on the list of those sanctioned by the U.S.

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2 p.m.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says there’s no allegation that any Americans were “knowing participants” in what federal prosecutors call an elaborate plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Thirteen Russians and three Russian companies were charged Friday with plotting to meddle in the election through social media propaganda aimed at helping Republican Donald Trump and harming the prospects of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Charges were brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller and represented the most direct allegation to date of illegal Russian meddling during the election.

Rosenstein said Friday that there is “no allegation in this indictment” that any American was a knowing participant.

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1:50 p.m.

The deputy attorney general says a new indictment does not allege that Russian meddling altered the outcome of presidential election.

Federal prosecutors have announced charges against 13 Russians and three Russian entities with an elaborate plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The indictment was brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller. It alleges that Russians used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to sway political opinion during the race between Republican Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says the indictment does not include allegations that the plot swayed the outcome of the vote.

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1:40 p.m.

Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein says the goal of 13 Russians and three Russian entities charged Friday was “spreading distrust” of 2016 candidates and the political system.

The indictment details an elaborate plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The indictment was brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller. It alleges that Russians used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to sway political opinion during the race between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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1:21 p.m.

Thirteen Russians and three Russian entities were charged Friday with an elaborate plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, federal prosecutors announced Friday.

The indictment, brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, alleges that Russians used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to sway political opinion during the race between Republican Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent.

The charges are the most direct allegation to date of illegal Russian meddling in the election.

The goal, the indictment says, was to “sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 presidential election.”

The charges arise from Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the election and whether there was improper coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

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