USA indicts 12 Russian intel officers ahead of Trump-Putin meeting

Erika Holt
July 14, 2018

The entire indictment can be read here, and it is an outcome of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of election meddling.

Eleven of the defendants are charged with conspiring to hack into computers, steal documents, and release those documents with the intent to interfere with the election.

While Friday's indictment does not include any criminal allegations against a US citizen, the charges note that Guccifer 2.0 allegedly communicated with "U.S. persons about the release of stolen documents".

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing", Trump said.

The Russians named in the indictment discussed how and when to release material they'd accumulated in order to make the biggest political splash inside the United States, Rosenstein said.

According to the indictment, the hackers also stole personal information of at least 500,000 voters and gained entry to a system involved with voter registration.

The Mueller indictment, released Friday, notes that Russian hackers had targeted the Clinton campaign beginning in March of 2016 by creating fake email accounts masking as campaign employees and sending "spearphishing" emails to real employees with links containing malware to give the hackers access to thousands of internal emails.

"These indictments are further proof of what everyone but the president seems to understand: President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win", Schumer said in a statement.

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Rosenstein's announcement came just ahead of a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he has sought warmer relations.

In the summer and fall of 2016, the operatives invented Guccifer 2.0 and used "him" to release additional stolen documents through WordPress.

But Mr. Podesta said he was skeptical that Americans were unaware they were communicating with Russians, citing US intelligence reports linking Gufficer 2.0 and DCLinks to that country's operatives.

A few hours before the indictments were announced, Trump described the Mueller investigation as a "rigged witch hunt" that is hurting the US relationship with Russian Federation. This person, who remains unidentified, wanted stolen documents, and the conspirators responded with documents on the candidate's opponent, the indictment said. And a state lobbyist received stolen data on Democratic donors later that month, the indictment alleges. The probe had already resulted in criminal charges against 14 Russians, five Americans and one Dutch citizen and three corporate entities.

Trump has called the Mueller investigation a "witch hunt". The 20 are four former Trump campaign and White House aides, three who have pleaded guilty to different crimes and agreed to cooperate, and 13 Russians accused of participating in a hidden but powerful social media campaign to sway USA public opinion in the election.

Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chairman in 2016, is now in jail after his bail was revoked for alleged witness tampering and faces two sets of criminal charges related to his years of working as a lobbyist for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians.

It was the first round of new worldwide indictments since February, when 13 Russians and three Russian companies were charged with campaign interference and coordinating with low-level Trump campaign activists.

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