"Go Donald!": Inside the Russian shadow campaign to elect Trump

The Russian effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential election spanned at least two countries and multiple states, and included fake rallies, false identities and divisive slogans intended to magnify Trump’s message and undermine Clinton’s candidacy, according to a 37-page indictment of a notorious Russian troll farm announced by the Justice Department’s special counsel.

“I’m amazed — and I suppose I shouldn’t be — what a widespread campaign it was,” said Republican consultant Doug Heye. “It looks like the size of this was probably bigger than Jeb Bush’s primary campaign.”…

“I hate to say it, but it seems like the creative instincts and the sophistication exceeds a lot of the U.S. political operatives who do this for a living,” said Brian Fallon, a spokesman on Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. “There were memes and advertisements that were really in sync with the Trump campaign’s rhetoric. The messages were in sync, and they certainly exploited some of our vulnerabilities.”

“To read about it in this level of detail is pretty gripping,” added Fallon — who, like other former Clinton aides, said he was unaware of the Russian meddling as it was playing out in real time.