The president's tweet also seems to accept that there was some degree of Russian interference. However, Trump has, at times, doubted that there were any efforts by Russians to influence the 2016 election, which Friday's indictment clearly outlines in rich, lengthy detail. He has called media reports and other discussion of the Russian interference campaign a "hoax" and "fake news." And last month the administration decided not to impose new sanctions on Russia despite a law passed by Congress.
Trump's personal lawyer, John M. Dowd, also said in an email that he was "Very happy for the country. Bob and his team did a great job!"
The actions the Russian individuals and entities allegedly carried out -- some of which date to May 2014 -- are extraordinarily detailed and complex as part of what the indictment refers to as "Project Lakhta."
The largest company indicted, the Internet Research Agency, was based in St. Petersburg, Russia, and was funded through shell companies by another individual indicted. The IRA employed as many as 80 people focused on the sole project of disrupting and influencing U.S. elections, according to the indictment. By September 2016, the company had a monthly budget of more than $1.25 million and was organized into multiple departments, including graphics, search engine optimization, information technology and finance.
The government alleges two defendants traveled to the U.S. and others attempted to hide their Russian origins, even using a virtual private network in the U.S. so it would appear their activity originated there. The Russians also paid real Americans to work for them as part of their interference campaign. However, "the Americans did not know they were communicating with Russians," according to the indictment.
They also used "false U.S. personas to communicate with unwitting members, volunteers, and supporters of the Trump campaign involved in local community outreach, as well as grassroots groups that supported then-candidate Trump," the indictment alleges. Through these personas, they encouraged minority voters in the U.S. to either not vote in the 2016 election or to cast their ballots for a third-party candidate. And they also promoted allegations of voter fraud among Democrats -- a message the Trump campaign seized upon in the closing days of the campaign.
Other actions the defendants allegedly undertook, according to the indictment, included "buying political advertisements on social media in the names of U.S. persons and entities. Defendants also staged political rallies inside the United States, and while posing as U.S. grassroots entities and U.S. persons, and without revealing their Russian identities and organization affiliation, solicited and compensated real U.S. persons to promote or disparage candidates." To do so, they stole the identities of many people, including compromising their Social Security numbers, birthdays and home addresses.
According to the indictment, many of the advertisements the Russians purchased were designed specifically to malign Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. "Donald wants to defeat terrorism...Hillary wants to sponsor it," one ad on May 10, 2016, read. "Hillary is a Satan, and her crimes and lies had proved just how evil she is," was the message of another one on Oct. 19, 2016, just weeks before Election Day. And the indictment alleges the Russian defendants also frequently used election-related hashtags like #TrumpTrain, #MAGA and #Hillary4Prison.
The Russian agents also organized pro-Trump rallies and anti-Clinton rallies, the indictment alleges. They employed real U.S. persons to perform tasks at these events, such as paying one "to build a cage on a flatbed truck and another U.S. person to wear a costume portraying Clinton in a prison uniform."
And the Internet Research Agency also kept a list, the indictment says, of the more than 100 real U.S. people it had contacted to help with its recruitment efforts, logging their political views and what they had been asked to do by the Russian operation.
The social media accounts run by the Russian defendants supported Trump and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Clinton's chief primary rival for the Democratic nomination, the indictment alleges. In addition to Clinton, Russian accounts also denigrated Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who challenged Trump for the GOP nomination.
According to the indictment, the individuals created hundreds of social media accounts to influence public opinion that were masquerading as legitimate U.S. political groups. The indictment points to one account, Tennessee GOP (@TEN_GOP), which gained over 100,000 followers yet had no affiliation with the actual state political party.
The Internet Research Agency also had employs monitoring social media during both day and night shifts so information would be posted across U.S. time zones, according to the indictment. The Russian operatives were also aware of U.S. holidays and made posts germane to those and also employed people who could post on social media about specific policy topics, such as the economy or foreign policy.
The Russians also allegedly created specific groups on Facebook and Instagram. Starting in at least 2014, they spent thousands of dollars each month to purchase targeted advertisements on social media sites. And there was allegedly specific targeting of "purple states," or swing states, that are critical to the outcome in the Electoral College.
There were also efforts beyond influencing the election to simply sow discord and confusion. For example, defendants allegedly organized both pro-Trump and anti-Trump rallies in New York City.