Washington — The US special prosecutor investigating Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election on Friday indicted 13 Russians for allegedly running a secret campaign to tilt the vote — prompting claims of vindication from President Donald Trump. The indictment — which includes the first charges laid by special counsel Robert Mueller for election interference — detailed a stunning operation launched in 2014 in a bid to sow social division in the US and influence American politics “including the presidential election of 2016”. Mueller alleges that by mid-2016, the campaign — under the direction of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin — became focused on boosting Trump and demeaning his rivals including Democrat Hillary Clinton. It allegedly involved “hundreds” of people working in shifts and with a budget of millions of dollars. Three companies were also indicted. Moscow dismissed the allegations as “absurd”. According to the indictment, member...

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