Indicted Russian conspirators came to Colorado to gather 'intel'

They were also told by a grassroots organizer in Texas to "go after purple states" including Colorado. The Colorado Secretary of State is looking into these claims.

Thirteen Russians and three Russian businesses were named in an indictment released by the FBI Friday alleging intentional interference in the 2016 election.

Two Russians reportedly traveled to Colorado to gather intelligence and the main organization allegedly responsible for tampering with the election was told to "go after purple states" like Colorado by a political activist.

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While the indictment offers no explanation on what the pair was actually gathering on Colorado, the two who visited were allegedly the agency's data analyst and third-in-command.

The Colorado Secretary of State said they are aware of the Colorado connections in the FBI's indictment and are looking into it, but add they won't have anything to publicly release until at least Tuesday.

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The pair traveled to various U.S. states besides Colorado, including Nevada, California, New Mexico, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas and New York. According to the indictment, they fraudulently obtained U.S. visas by claiming they were traveling for personal reasons.

U.S. law forbids any foreign entity from engaging in political activity without express consent from the Attorney General's office - consent they never sought out nor were given.

Internal memos cited in the indictment show the group's goal was "spreading distrust toward the candidates and the political system." Employees of the group were told to "use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump - we support them)."

In addition, an unnamed grassroots organizer from Texas is alleged to have told the Russians - who were posing as Americans at the time - to focus their attention on "purple states like Colorado, Virginia, and Florida."

The indictment says after that exchange, the conspirators commonly referred to purple states as their targets. While there was no further mention of Colorado in the indictment, the group is alleged to have paid for quite a bit of material for pro-Trump in the battleground state of Florida. They are also accused of organizing anti-Trump rallies.

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The Russian conspiracy was led by a group called "Internet Research Agency" that was incorporated in St. Petersburg, Russia. The group would often work with two other Russian businesses owned by the same person called Concord and Concord Catering. Both of those companies hold several Russian government contracts, the indictment says.

The head of the Internet Research Agency, a man named in the indictment as Yevgeny Prigozhin, is called "Putin's cook" by Russian media.

Concord would allegedly help the Internet Research Agency with funding and, as the main source of cash for the conspiracy often offered advice to the group on who to hire and coordinated the group as part of a larger Russian conspiracy called "Project Lahkta."

According to the indictment, Project Lahkta had a monthly budget of over $1 million U.S. dollars and was used to target both Russian and foreign audiences - including the U.S.

The Internet Research Agency is painted in the indictment as a group focused on swaying American the 2016 election by using social media.

The group had more than 80 regular employees just assigned to translating duty at the height of their actions in mid-2016. They had an I.T. department, search engine optimization department, content generators and even bought U.S. server space to hide the origin of their actions.

The indictment also alleges they stole the personal identities of at least five Americans and used those identities to create email addresses so they could get bank accounts and PayPal accounts to help pay for social media ads for their posts.

They allegedly created many Facebook and Instagram pages with a wide range of focuses, from pro-Sharia law pages, pro-Black Lives Matter, pro-Christian, pro-border security and pro-counter-terrorism pages.

The Internet Research Agency even paid for materials for rallies held in Florida, including paying for a human-sized cage to house a Hillary Clinton impersonator.

While the Colorado GOP has not released a public statement regarding the indictment, Colorado Democrats are clamoring in a news release for Republicans in Congress to support the Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. They did not say what those actions were specifically.

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