FIRST

Mueller Indicts Russian Groups First Revealed by The Daily Beast

In the fall of 2017, The Daily Beast published a series of exposés revealing that the Kremlin’s online propagandists had digitally impersonated American advocacy groups and executed real-world rallies in support of Donald Trump on American soil. On Friday, Special counsel Robert Mueller unveiled his indictment of Russian companies and individuals on charges that they defrauded the United States, committed bank fraud, and stole Americans’ identities. That indictment recaps many of the activities first uncloaked by The Beast. The Russian trolls organized a series of pro-Trump rallies staged throughout the state of Florida; they set up an ersatz anti-immigration group, Secured Borders, which protested against refugees; and they assumed the identity of United Muslims of America, an otherwise benign Muslim advocacy group. “Russia knows no ends and no limits to which groups they would masquerade as to carry out their objectives,” Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat on the House intelligence committee, told The Daily Beast at the time the effort was first revealed.

—Noah Shachtman