Raleigh activist tricked by Russian trolls reacts to Mueller report

Conrad James arrived back in Raleigh Monday night after a day in Washington D.C. with other activists to strategize about new protests to push the Justice Department to release Robert Mueller's full report on Russian election meddling.

But what we know for sure from the Attorney General's summary of the report is that a Russian organization, known as the Internet Research Agency, or IRA, conducted a disinformation campaign and social media operation in the U.S. designed to sow social discord in the lead up to the 2016 Presidential Election.

"It keeps getting weirder and weirder," said James, whose unwitting involvement is all documented on his Facebook page. "I think for a fact the main point of emphasis was to undermine the American political system."

The suspected Russian trolls contacted James in the summer of 2016 to organize a rally in the throes of the Charlotte riots over the police shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott.

James believes the Russians were using rallies like this to enhance African-American distrust of government and police to make them less likely to vote.

"This could have been used to circumvent or cause apathy amongst the black community," James said. "(The Russians) actually covered both sides. They had "Muslims for Trump." But they also had the "NRA for Hillary Clinton."

"We can never let this happen to another president again," President Trump told reporters from the White House Monday as he celebrated Mueller's conclusion that neither he nor anyone on his campaign colluded with Russia in the election meddling.

But, activists like James worry about the real-life impacts it may have in his world of organizing for social justice: "It makes more activists more suspicious, more skeptical of the issues that they're fighting for."
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