Russian Intelligence Officials Indicted Over Hacking Democrats During 2016 US Election Campaign

Rod Rosenstein

Modal Trigger Rod Rosenstein AP

The top Democrat in the Senate is calling on President Donald Trump to cancel his coming meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in the wake of new charges that 12 Russian intelligence officers hacked into Democratic email accounts during the 2016 USA presidential election. That brings the overall number to 32 people or entities indicted in connection with the Mueller investigation.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice, Friday, July 13, 2018, in Washington. Brad Ashford, who lost his 2016 race for re-election to Republican Don Bacon, revealed in a Facebook post Friday that "Russian agents" had hacked his campaign emails.

During a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, Mr Trump said he loves the United States, but also loves "getting along with Russian Federation and China and other countries".

Ashford, who lost a comeback bid this year in the Democratic primary, also said President Donald Trump should cancel his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They engaged in "active cyber operations to influence the 2016 presidential election".

The intrusion into accounts of volunteers and employees of the Clinton campaign began in March 2016, then the DNC and DCCC were hacked.

Rosenstein said that his team had determined that these 12 Russians were also behind the websites "DCLeaks" and "Guccifer 2.0", which they used to release information that they had stolen through hacking and spearphishing. The Russians are accused of planting malicious computer code and stole emails and other documents.

The indictment says that Florida elections officials were targets of the operatives, who worked for the Russian foreign intelligence service, the GRU.

But he simultaneously denounced the Mueller investigation as a "rigged witch hunt", and said he has been "tougher on Russian Federation than anybody". GRU members have been charged for being behind a "sustained effort" to hack into the DNC network and the presidential campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Rosenstein took great pains to explain that, thus far, there are no allegations that any Americans knew they were communicating with Russian intelligence officers as they went around arranging the release of the internal Democratic Party records. Trump has said he believes Putin's denials that Russian Federation did not meddle in the election.

It was the most detailed U.S. accusation yet that Russian Federation meddled in the election with the eventual aim of trying to boost Republican Trump's campaign.

Mr Trump, who is now visiting Britain, is scheduled to meet Mr Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

Some researchers said the indictment might have depended on US signals intelligence, the fruits of which are rarely revealed, because it quotes electronic messages sent to an unidentified organization presumed to be London-based WikiLeaks.

Rosenstein said he briefed President Donald Trump on the charges earlier in the week.

Costello denied Friday that he is the congressional candidate referred to in the indictment and tweeted that he has asked the Justice Department to "clarify if the candidate was ever elected".

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