USA jury indicts 12 Russian ‘spies’ on charges of hacking Clinton’s computers

Erika Holt
July 15, 2018

Twelve Russian spies have been charged with running a sweeping hacking campaign to damage Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election - with the indictment landing three days before Donald Trump is set to meet Vladimir Putin.

Rosenstein said these new indictments contain no allegation that any United States citizen committed a crime or that it changed the final vote count or election result.

He also said during a joint press conference with the British Prime Minister Theresa May that his administration was "tougher on Russian Federation than anybody".

The indictment alleges that beginning in March 2016, the GRU agents began targeting over 300 employees and volunteers of the Clinton campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the DNC.

The court papers say that the defendants - two of whom were also charged with orchestrating attacks on state election systems - disseminated emails stolen from the Democrats through two online personas that they created, Guccifer 2.0 and DC Leaks.

The indictment, part of the Russian Federation investigation headed by the special counsel Robert Mueller, describes the details of the transaction. Trump speaks fondly of Putin and a desire for better relations with Moscow, but the rest of his executive branch remains highly critical and deeply suspicious of the Russian president and the Kremlin's intentions.

Some Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), said Trump should immediately cancel his Helsinki summit with Putin. The description matches a contact that longtime Trump associate Roger Stone has previously said he had with Guccifer.

But as night fell Friday in the United Kingdom, where Trump is staying through the weekend, neither the president nor his White House spokesmen condemned Russian Federation for the allegations detailed in the indictments.

A Washington Post reporter falsely claimed Friday that the beginning of the Russian effort to hack Hillary Clinton's campaign emails came the very same day that her opponent, Donald Trump, called on Russia to find Clinton's State Department emails.

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DNC Chair Tom Perez said the latest indictments show the magnitude of the Russian operation. "(P) retty standard", the person responded.

Was Russia listening, after all?

Rosenstein told BBC that the defendants corresponded with several Americans during the conspiracy to manipulate the elections but there is no direct allegation that any U.S. citizen indulged in criminal activity.

Nielsen said the intelligence community has also observed "persistent Russian efforts using social media, sympathetic spokespeople, and other fronts to sow discord and divisiveness amongst the American people - though not necessarily focused on specific politicians or political campaigns".

The document continues: "On or about August 15, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the US Congress".

Announcing the indictments, Rosenstein bemoaned the extent to which the Russian Federation probe has divided Americans along partisan lines.

In addition to targeting the DNC, the Department of Justice alleges the Russian intelligence operatives also targeted: "state boards of elections, secretaries of state, and USA companies that supplied software and other technology related to the administration of elections to steal voter data stored on those computers".

"The Russians are nailed. This is no witch hunt".

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