DISINFO: Russian collusion hoax pushed to excuse for Clinton's loss, election fraud
  • Outlet: sputniknews.com (archived)*
  • Date of publication: February 25, 2020
  • Outlet language(s): English
  • Reported in: Issue 186
  • Countries / regions discussed: US, Russia
election meddling Robert Mueller Manipulated elections/referendum Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Corruption

DISINFO: Russian collusion hoax pushed to excuse for Clinton's loss, election fraud


Russia did not interfere in the US political system. Allegations of collusion were made up to excuse the election loss of Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, as well as to deflect public attention from instances of election fraud and corruption.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Before the Mueller report was published, Russian meddling in the 2016 election had already been established by US intelligence agencies. Thus, the Special Investigation was primarily concerned with "whether any Americans […] joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election" (p.2).

Robert Mueller makes clear in his report that "collusion" is not a legal concept under US federal law, and that gathering evidence thereof would have fallen outside the scope of the special counsel investigation (p. 2). The report does, in fact, identify "numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign" (p. 9).

Given its focus on the criminal component of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential poll, Mueller's team did not aim to assess the impact of these campaigns on US voter behaviour. The investigation ascertained that "Russia's two principal interference operations […] violated US criminal law" (p. 9) and were carried out in "sweeping and systematic fashion" (p. 1), noting that 13 Russian nationals implicated in these operations have been charged with "conspiracy to defraud the United States" (p. 174).

The claim that the meddling allegations were used to excuse Hillary Clinton's loss defies both time and logic. Efforts by Moscow to hurt the Clinton campaign were reported already in June 2016, some five months before her electoral defeat. The initial FBI probe into Russian interference operations was launched in late July 2016. It is therefore unclear how these revelations were meant to "excuse" Clinton's performance before election day, seeing as she commanded a decisive polling lead over Trump right up until 8 November.

Voter fraud in the United States is a non-issue. Out of 136,669,276 ballots cast on 8 November, a grand total of four were identified as fraudulent. None of the four votes was included in official tallies.

For similar cases, see here.


Related disinfo cases


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

    Your opinion matters!

    Data Protection Information *

      Subscribe to the Disinfo Review

      Your weekly update on pro-Kremlin disinformation

      Data Protection Information *

      The Disinformation Review is sent through Mailchimp.com. See Mailchimp’s privacy policy and find out more on how EEAS protects your personal data.