The Justice Department announced indictment against 12 Russian Nationals as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, accusing them of engaging in a “sustained effort” to hack Democrats’ emails and computer networks.
All 12 defendants are members of the GRU, a Russian federation intelligence agency within the main intelligence directorate of the Russian military, who were acting in “their official capacities.”
The revelations provide more detail on the sophisticated assault on the US election in 2016, including the release of emails designed to damage Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Trump is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has denied election meddling, in Helsinki on Monday for a summit that includes a one-on-one meeting with only interpreters present. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday the summit will not be canceled.
The Justice Department says the hacking targeted Clinton’s campaign, Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, with the intention to “release that information on the internet under the names DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 and through another entity.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the indictment does not name any American citizen, but told reporters that defendants “corresponded with several Americans during the course of the conspiracy through the internet.”
“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime,” Rosenstein said at a news conference. “There is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result.”
Deputy White House press secretary Lindsay Walters referenced Rosenstein’s comments and said there is no evidence tying the Trump campaign to hacking attempts.
“Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result,” Walters said in a statement. “This is consistent with what we have been saying all along.”