A number of Russians have been charged with meddling in the U.S. 2016 election.
On February 16, the Department of Justice announced that 13 Russians and three Russian companies had committed federal crimes while trying to interfere in the U.S. political system.
The announcement comes after President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that there was no Russian involvement in the election which saw him become leader. The Kremlin has also denied involvement.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged Russian meddling, made the charges.
The charges state that Russians pretended to be Americans, opened financial accounts in their name and spent thousands buying political advertising.
They are alleged to have organised and promoted political rallies in the U.S., promoted negative information about Hillary Clinton and used social media – including Facebook and Instagram – to help sway the election in favour of Trump.
All this was allegedly done with a monthly budget of around $1.25 million.
The charges state that a cage was also built with the cash to hold an actress portraying Clinton in a prison uniform.
Two of the defendants allegedly travelled to the United States in 2014 to collect intelligence for their American political influence operations, the Department of Justice said.
Since news of the indictment was released, President Trump has said there was “no collusion”. The president has previously been accused of working with Russians to help his campaign succeed.
“President Donald J. Trump has been fully briefed on this matter and is glad to see the Special Counsel’s investigation further indicates — that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected,” the White House said in a statement.
But the latest indictments did not mention the president’s campaign had knowingly worked with Russia.
Democrats have said there may be more evidence to come that will demonstrate this.
The Kremlin has also denied any involvement, saying the allegations were “baseless”.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on February 19: “We still insist that this evidence has no grounds and we don’t consider it overwhelming, we don’t regard it as fair and cannot agree with it.”