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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Congresswoman Waters Statement on Indictment of Russian Involved in 2018 Midterm Election Interference

October 20, 2018
Press Release

 

Congresswoman Waters Statement on Indictment of Russian Involved in 2018 Midterm Election Interference

Russian Efforts Targeted Rep. Maxine Waters & other Elected Officials

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) issued a statement on the indictment of a Russian, Elena A. Khusyaynova, who was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for conspiracy to defraud the United States. According to media reports, Khusyaynova was the chief accountant for “Project Lakhta”-- a Russian influence operation prosecutors said was designed “to sow discord in the U.S. political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions.” Project Lakhta was funded by a Russian oligarch and close associate of Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consultants and Concord Catering, which were named in the July 2018 indictments, brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, involving attempted meddling in the 2016 election.

“I would like to commend the efforts of the federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies that were responsible for identifying and charging a Russian who was involved in a sophisticated and well-financed campaign to ‘sow discord’ amongst the American people and interfere in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. While much of the discussion regarding Russian interference in our democratic process has focused on the 2016 presidential election and Special Counsel Mueller’s probe, this indictment confirms that Russian efforts are not limited to presidential elections; they extend to the upcoming federal, state, and local elections that are just a few weeks away.

“According to the indictment, I was one of the elected officials that was targeted by Russia’s ‘Project Lakhta,’ which allegedly used ‘the Twitter account @CovfefeNationUS to repost a Tweet encouraging readers to donate to a political action committee aiming to unseat’ me and other Members of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. Disturbing as this may be, the efforts of those involved in Project Lakhta and other Kremlin-aligned groups that target U.S. elected officials and peddle falsehoods to the American public are not a new phenomenon. For example, just last year, I revealed that a Kremlin-linked account, @TEN_GOP, was targeting me and tweeting lies about my district. In February 2018, the @TEN_GOP account was explicitly mentioned in Special Counsel Mueller’s indictments as one of the many examples of foreign operated accounts existing solely to sow discord in the United States political system. My fear was then, and is today, that Russia will continue to attack my congressional colleagues and congressional candidates heading into the 2018 elections and beyond. Unfortunately, the latest indictment has proven this to be true. 

“With the 2018 elections a few weeks away, it is shameful that the current president of the United States and his Republican allies have continued to dismiss, deflect, and outright deny the real and present threat that Russian interference poses to our democracy. Instead, this president has sold out our democracy time and time again with his disgraceful embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin.  At every turn, he and his allies have undermined or obstructed federal and congressional investigations into Russian election meddling efforts in the United States. In the absence of real leadership from the commander-in-chief and the Republican-controlled Congress, it is imperative that elected officials at all levels of government act on the information that has been revealed so far, and work to ensure that our constituents fully understand the clear and immediate threat that Russia poses to our democratic process, national security, and most sacred traditions.”

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