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Russian intelligence officers indicted over USA election hacking

14 July 2018

Twelve Russian military intelligence officers hacked into the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic Party, releasing tens of thousands of stolen communications, in a sweeping effort by a foreign government to meddle in the 2016 USA election, according to a grand jury indictment.

"As Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said today, there is no allegation in this indictment that Americans knew that they were corresponding with Russians.There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime".

The indictment accuses the Russian hackers, starting in March 2016, of covertly monitoring the computers of dozens of Democratic officials and volunteers, implanting malicious computer code known as malware to explore the networks and steal data and of phishing emails to gain access to accounts.

Second, Friday's move is typical in that Mueller's indictments tend to always seem a bit surprising in their breadth, indicating that the investigation is a little broader, a little farther along, and a little more wide-ranging than many observers think.

Defendants include four former Trump campaign and White House aides, three of whom have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate, and 13 Russians accused in a powerful social media campaign to sway USA public opinion in 2016.

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The charges come as Mr Mueller continues to investigate potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign to influence the presidential election. The announcement comes just days before President Donald Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Three other people, all unnamed in the indictment, also received documents from the Russians: A congressional candidate, who contacted the spies seeking damaging information on an opponent; a lobbyist who got information on Democratic donors; and a reporter who co-ordinated with the Russians on putting out information about Black Lives Matter.

During a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, Mr Trump also said the Russian Federation collusion allegations dogging his presidency were "pure stupidity".

To help mask their Russian origins, the military officers used networks of computers located across the world, including in the United States, and paid for it using Bitcoin.

Rosenstein said he has already briefed the president on the content of the indictment.

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The US president recalled that 60 intelligence officers were expelled from the Russian embassy in Washington in response to a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain. He is investigating Moscow's interference in the election, and trying to determine whether Mr. Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation.

The charges come as Mueller continues to investigate potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

The ministry's statement blames "influential political forces of the United States, who oppose the normalization of relations between our countries and have been manufacturing blatant slander for two years". Pure stupidity. But it makes it very hard to do something with Russian Federation. They plan to hold a one-on-one meeting in Helsinki.

After a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, Mr. Trump said he would address election meddling with Putin.

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Russian intelligence officers indicted over USA election hacking