Published: Sun, July 15, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in 2016 U.S. election

Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in 2016 U.S. election

Trump's first response to special counsel Robert Mueller's initial charges against Russian government officials for interfering in American politics came in tweets the president posted while at his golf resort in Scotland, two days before a high-stakes summit in Finland with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

"The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during former president Obama's Administration, not the Trump Administration".

Robert Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director has always been against Trump and was vehemently against any Russian collusion during the elections.

US citizens have called for Trump to either cancel his summit with Putin, which is slated for Monday in Helsinki, or pressure the Russian president for more information about the meddling in the 2016 election. "You got me!'" Leading Democratic senators asked Trump in a letter Saturday to scrap the summit "if you are not prepared to make Russia's attack on our election the top issue you will discuss". "It's very important that they meet".

The indictment alleges that beginning in March 2016, the GRU agents began targeting over 300 employees and volunteers of the Clinton campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Stolen emails, many politically damaging for Clinton, appeared on WikiLeaks in the campaign's final stretch.

Trump advisor Roger Stone told CNN Friday evening he believed he may be the person referred to in the indictment as having been in touch with the Guccifer 2.0 persona, but said his exchange over Twitter direct messages was "benign" and "innocuous".

Rosenstein said the Americans who were corresponding with the GRU officers were unaware they were Russian operatives.

The indictment stands as the clearest Justice Department allegation yet of Russian efforts to interfere, through illegal hacking, in the USA presidential election before Americans went to the polls - and the first to implicate the Russian government directly.

In a statement, the White House highlighted Rosenstein's remarks that no Americans had been charged.

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59 percent of Russian citizens believe that the summit between Trump and Putin will have no effect.

A few hours before the indictments were announced, Trump called the Mueller investigation a "rigged witch hunt" that is hurting the United States' relationship with Russian Federation.

Speaking to reporters in the United Kingdom on Friday before the indictments became public, Trump pledged to raise the 2016 election meddling issue during his sit-down with Putin.

But the indictment identifies the defendants as officers with Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, also known as GRU.

The top state election officials from throughout the US are gathering this weekend in Philadelphia amid fresh revelations of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The charges were drawn up by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director who is looking into Russian interference in the November 2016 vote and whether any members of Trump's campaign team colluded with Moscow.

Speaking in Britain before the indictments were unveiled, Trump said he would ask Putin about the allegations of election meddling.

That evening, the indictment says, the Russians attempted to break into email accounts used by Clinton's personal office, along with 76 Clinton campaign email addresses.

On July 22, 2016, Organization 1 "released over 20,000 emails and other documents stolen from the DNC network by the Conspirators", the indictment said. "At or around the same time, they also targeted 76 email addresses at the domain of the Clinton Campaign".

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