Someone Gave Russians ‘Confidential Files’ To Be Used In ‘Disinformation Campaign’ To Discredit Mueller’s Probe
Special counsel Robert Mueller revealed on Wednesday that confidential materials in his criminal case against a Russian entity were released and used in a “disinformation campaign” aimed at discrediting his ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“Certain discovery materials in the defense’s possession appear to have been altered and disseminated as part of a disinformation campaign aimed (apparently) at discrediting ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the U.S. political system,” prosecutors with the special counsel’s office stated in a court filing.
Prosecutors said that some nonpublic files supplied to Concord’s defense attorneys were apparently altered and disseminated using the Twitter account @HackingRedstone, which has since been suspended on the platform.
The filing cites an Oct. 22, 2018, tweet in which the account claimed, “We’ve got access to the Special Counsel Mueller’s probe database as we hacked Russian server with info from the Russian troll case Concord LLC v. Mueller. You can view all the files Mueller had about the IRA and Russia collusion. Enjoy the reading!”
The tweet linked to a webpage with folders containing scores of files that mimicked names and folder structures of materials produced by the special counsel’s office in discovery, the filing states.
Mueller’s prosecutors said the FBI reviewed the files and found roughly 1,000 of the total 300,000 matched files produced to Concord in discovery.
The FBI also obtained evidence the account used to set up the file-sharing portal was registered by a user with an IP address in Russia, prosecutors said.
“The fact that the file folder names and folder structure on the webpage significantly match the non-public names and file structure of the materials produced in discovery, and the fact that over 1,000 files on the webpage match those produced in discovery, establish that the person(s) who created the webpage had access to at least some of the non-sensitive discovery produced by the government in this case,” the filing states.
Concord is among 13 Russian individuals and entities charged last February in connection with Mueller’s probe. Concord is alleged to have funded the operation of the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm that spread divisive content to U.S. audiences on social media as part of broader effort to meddle in the 2016 vote.
Mueller has been investigating Russian interference and potential coordination between President Trump’s campaign and Moscow for roughly 20 months.
He has unsealed indictments of more than two dozen Russians linked to the Internet Research Agency and the hacking of Democratic emails.
Six Trump associates have also been charged in connection with the probe, including longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, who was indicted Friday for obstruction, witness tampering and lying to Congress about his interactions regarding WikiLeaks. Stone has pleaded not guilty.
Trump, meanwhile, has regularly derided the investigation as a witch hunt, asserting his campaign did not collude with the Russian government.
Legal experts have suggested that a new indictment is imminent and have speculated that it could be against Donald Trump Jr.