In 2016, the US pushed claims that Moscow had “meddled” in the nation’s presidential elections, alleging that “Russian hackers” broke into the Democratic National Committee’s servers. Additionally, US President Donald Trump was later accused of “collusion” with Russia – an allegation later probed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. However, the latter’s report said that insufficient evidence was found to support the claims. Russia, for its part, vehemently denied any interference in the US elections, calling the accusations part of the “domestic political struggle”.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying Moscow's interference in the 2016 US presidential election. The message appeared in an article covering the US 2020 elections. Like multiple earlier stories made by pro-Kremlin outlets regarding the 2016 US election, the present report muddles the crucial distinction between: a) interference, b) collusion, and c) conspiracy. Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election is a well-documented fact. By the time the Mueller report was published, Russian meddling in the 2016 poll had been established by the US intelligence community. The Mueller report itself concluded that Moscow had carried out this effort "in sweeping and systematic fashion" (p. 1). On the other hand, collusionis "not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in [US] federal criminal law," (p. 2) and therefore gathering evidence of it fell outside the scope of the Special Counsel investigation. The aim of the probe was not merely to ascertain contacts between the Trump Campaign and Russia-linked individuals during the election period, but to establish whether these interactions were deliberate enough on the part of Trump Campaign officials to sustain charges of conspiracy(ibid).