Mueller indicts 12 Russian intelligence officers over 2016 election interference

Mueller departs after briefing members of the U.S. Senate on his investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington DC

Joshua Roberts Reuters FILE

JORGE SILVA/REUTERS/NewscomDeputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein just announced that a grand jury has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking into the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, and arranging for the release of internal communications for the objective of influencing the outcome of the 2016 election.

Twelve Russian intelligence officers have been indicted in connection with the bitcoin-funded hacking of Democratic organizations and the Hillary Clinton campaign "with the intent to interfere" in the 2016 election, officials announced Friday.

He also said the Russian defendants infiltrated computers at US state boards of election and secretaries of state, plus software suppliers whose products help election officials verify voter registration data.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said no Americans knew they were communicating with Russians in this indictment and he had no evidence that the outcome of the election was affected.

The indictment comes just three days before the president is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Helsinki.

Rosenstein said "the conspirators corresponded with several Americans during the course of the conspiracy through the internet".

"The stolen data", the indictment says, "included donor records and personal identifying information for more than 2,000 Democratic donors".

Mueller is investigating whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation and whether the president has unlawfully sought to obstruct the Russian Federation investigation.

Of those 32, 26 are Russian nationals, five are American and one is Dutch.

Trump later attempted to modify his Russian call to cyber arms, by clarifying that he hoped Russia would turn over the 33,000 Clinton emails to Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents.

Rosenstein has been the focal point of controversy and tension after he took over the helm of the Russian Federation investigation, naming Robert Mueller to lead it, in the wake of the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The messages were released through fictitious personas like DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the charges at the US Department of Justice in Washington.

"The indictment charges 11 of the defendants with conspiracy to commit computer crimes, eight counts of aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to launder money".

Mr Rosenstein also said that the hackers were able to steal information on 500,000 voters from a state election board website.

"They also hacked into the computer networks of a congressional campaign committee and a national political committee". Trump said Friday before the indictment was released that he planned to ask Putin about Russia's election interference.

The special counsel investigation has produced more than 100 criminal counts against 32 people and three companies, according to a count from The New York Times.

The broad strokes of the hacking operation had already been made public, but the indictment provided new details and named names.

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