Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

U.S. indicts 12 Russian spies in 2016 election hacking

U.S. indicts 12 Russian spies in 2016 election hacking

The Justice Department announced indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election against 12 Russian nationals, accusing them of engaging in a "sustained effort" to hack Democrats' emails and computer networks.

The indictments were announced Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as part of the ongoing special counsel probe into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

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. The statement notes that they began "spearphishing" volunteers and employees of Clinton's campaign, including its chairman.

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.

Friday's indictments come ahead of Tuesday's scheduled meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Rosenstein said there were no allegations that United States citizens were involved in the alleged crimes.

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Addiechi added that it was not a "proactive campaign" but said "we'll take action against things that are wrong". He estimated up to 10 times more unreported cases where Russian women were targeted.

Trump has frequently dismissed the Russian Federation probe as a "witch hunt" and expressed his anger that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from overseeing the investigation.

The GRU officers, who are identified by name in the indictment, also allegedly hacked into state election websites to steal voter information.

The charges were brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether there was any collusion between Donald Trump's campaign and Russian Federation. He said that Mueller's investigation continues.

He said: "I briefed the president".

In his Friday announcement, Rosenstein called for an end to partisan fighting over the Russian Federation investigation, just one day after a Congressional panel grilled the former FBI agent Peter Strozk over his private text messages that were critical of Donald Trump.

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