US indicts 12 alleged Russian military officers for DNC hacking
Charges filed by special counsel Robert Mueller as Trump set to meet Vladamir Putin
Robert Mueller is leading an investigation into Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and any Russian (or other foreign) interference in the election.
A dozen Russians have been criminally charged with hacking and leaking the emails of senior Democrats during the 2016 presidential election campaign, it was announced on Friday.
The 12 alleged Russian intelligence officials were indicted as part of the ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in US politics, Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, was due to announce at a press conference in Washington.
The charges, filed by the special counsel Robert Mueller in Washington, were announced as US president Donald Trump met Queen Elizabeth in England and prepared to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin next week.
Thousands of emails taken from the accounts of staff at the the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, were published by outlets including WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.
The leaks threw the Democratic party into turmoil and prompted the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chairwoman, on the eve of the convention to nominate Clinton as its presidential nominee last July.
US intelligence agencies concluded that the accounts were hacked as part of a wide-ranging operation ordered by Mr Putin to damage Mrs Clinton’s bid for the presidency and assist Mr Trump’s campaign.
In February this year, Mr Mueller’s team unveiled criminal charges against 13 Russians and three Russian companies for interfering in the presidential campaign, using social media and co-ordinating with low-level Trump campaign activists.
Mr Rosenstein said at the time that the Russians had waged “information warfare” against the US during the 2016 campaign, with the aim of “spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general”.
Mr Mueller’s team has also charged Paul Manafort, Mr Trump’s former campaign chairman, with financial crimes. Three other Trump campaign aides have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. – Guardian service