Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Russian officers accused of hacking Democrats, indicted in election interference probe

Russian officers accused of hacking Democrats, indicted in election interference probe

The Justice Department charged 12 Russian intelligence officers on Friday with a litany of alleged offenses related to Russia's hacking of the Democratic National Committee's emails, state election systems and other targets in 2016.

The charges, filed by the special counsel Robert Mueller in Washington, were announced as Donald Trump met the Queen in England and prepared to meet Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, next week.

Rosenstein, who has been a target of Trump's ire over the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation, said it is "important for the president to know what information was uncovered because he has to make very important decisions for the country".

The Russia investigation has now led to charges against 32 people, including previous charges against 14 Russian nationals for their work on spreading Russian-based propaganda.

"There is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result", Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a prepared statement at a press conference. "It's what happened exactly".

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Trump did not specify which countries had committed to what, and it remained unclear whether any had changed their plans. Of the 29-member alliance, only the UK, Poland, Estonia and debt-ridden Greece met the benchmark in 2017.

To date, Mueller's probe has netted five guilty pleas, including from Trump's ex-national security adviser, Michael Flynn, along with almost 32 indictments, including the president's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

"This is a major, major diplomatic breach", said Dana Bash.

The Russians are accused of hacking into the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, and then releasing stolen emails on the internet in the months before the election.

All 12 defendants are Russian military intelligence operatives who, according to Rosenstein, created and used the "DCLeaks" and "Guccifer 2.0" identities to leak the information they stole from the DNC while implying they were Americans. Trump said Thursday he would ask Putin about the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 USA election, but pointed out Putin will likely deny it. Trump has said he believes Putin's denials that Russian Federation did not meddle in the election.

"There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime", he said at a news conference.

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