The indictment mentions that a dozen of Russian intelligence officers began their cyber attacks in March 2016 to hack the email accounts of volunteers and employees involved in the presidential campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. They used this to falsely claim to be a single Romanian hacker who broke into the Democrat-run systems.
The indictment's stunning allegations against Russian military officers and the GRU spy agency come a few days before President Donald Trump will meet face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland - a summit Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said the US leader should promptly cancel.
The indictment - announced days before US President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin - stands as the clearest Justice Department allegation yet of Russian efforts to interfere, through illegal hacking, in the election before Americans went to the polls.
They corresponded with 'several Americans, ' he said, but the DOJ is not alleging htat any of them knew they were talking with Russian agents. Indeed, an indictment that directly points to Russian President Vladimir Putin makes it much more hard for critics to dismiss Russia's culpability in election hacking as unproven.
The 12 defendants named in the indictment are members of the Russian intel agency, the GRU, according to a Justice Department press release about the indictment.
"I will absolutely bring it up", he said resignedly.
"There will not be a Perry Mason here". "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press". "But I'll very firmly ask the question".
But he simultaneously denounced the Mueller investigation as a "rigged witch hunt", and said he has been "tougher on Russian Federation than anybody".
Friday's charges are not the first for Russian nationals. "There is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result".
The deputy AG moments earlier described the charges.
The charges include counts of criminal conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to launder money, and conspiracy to hack into the computers of state boards and elections.
If the involvement of the GRU officers in the hacking effort is proved, it would shatter the Kremlin denials of the Russian state's involvement in the US elections.
The Kremlin denied anew it tried to sway the election.
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 32 people and three companies What's the big picture? He said there's no allegation in the indictment as to whether they actually did affect it, labeling that speculative. "One GRU unit worked to steal information, while another unit worked to disseminate stolen information", Rosenstein said. The messages were released through fictitious personas like DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0.
Defendants allegedly then released the stolen information.
Russian Federation has denied any involvement in the attack and rejected accusations that it interfered in the U.S. presidential election in a bid to bring about the defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton.
"The indictments Rod Rosenstein announced are good news for all Americans".