And he didn’t keep talking about the WikiLeaks emails stolen by Russia because he thought voters didn’t care. WASHINGTON ― As John Bentley waited in line to see President Barack Obama campaign for Hillary Clinton just days before the 2016 election, he worried that he’d been unable to persuade his son to cast a ballot for Clinton, too. The 24-year-old believed Clinton was untrustworthy, with new emails released by WikiLeaks providing fresh proof on a daily basis. “Can you believe it?” wondered Bentley, a 70-year-old African-American man and a lifelong Democrat. Fifteen months later, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has found that the skepticism that afflicted people like Bentley’s son was no fluke. It was the result of deliberate efforts by the Russian government to hurt Clinton and help Donald Trump win the presidency ― efforts that included the targeting of young African-Americans like Bentley’s son. “Defendants and their co-conspirators began to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election or to vote for a third-party U.S. presidential candidate,” according to a Feb. 16 grand jury indictment obtained by Mueller. In fact, the day before Obama visited Jacksonville, Florida, to support Clinton, Russians purchased an ad for the Instagram account of a fake group called Blacktivist. It urged African-Americans to vote for a third-party candidate. “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote,” the ad read, according to Mueller’s indictment. It is impossible to know precisely how many voters nationally stayed home or voted for a third-party candidate because of the Russians’ social media campaign. Nevertheless, the details from the indictment raise new questions about the legitimacy of Trump’s victory. While Trump maintains there is no proof that the Russian assistance affected the election, the contours of that final month of campaigning and the closeness of the tally suggest that the opposite is true: that it is highly unlikely the Russian efforts did not affect the outcome. “There’s no question that it mattered,” said Democratic pollster Mark Mellman. “There’s no question that they thought it mattered. There’s no question that the Hillary Clinton folks thought it mattered.” Over the entire final month of the race, Trump essentially centered his campaign on talking about the emails stolen by Russian intelligence and then released through its allied group WikiLeaks. The messages, which were sent to and from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, cast Clinton in a bad light. “We love WikiLeaks!” Trump would tell his rally crowds and live TV audiences, urging them to go to the website and read the emails for themselves. “Boy, do we love WikiLeaks.” Democrats and even some Republican consultants said the Trump campaign would not have based its closing strategy on that theme if it were not working. More: Yes, Russia Likely Did Swing Votes For Donald Trump There is no doubt that Russia swung votes for Trump. There is no doubt that Trump knew that in real time. I didn't really need this article to tell me what I've known all along. It was obvious. The OP also likely makes Trump an "illegitimate" president. This is even worse than the George W. Bush debacle of 2000. At least Bush didn't have help from a hostile foreign power - just Jeb Bush, Katherine Harris, and the U.S. Supreme Court.