Russians charged with U.S. 2016 election hack

Rod Rosenstein

President Donald Trump has yet to directly respond to the newly announced indictments of Russian intelligence officers for hacking Democrats during the 2016 election, but his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, cheered the results as "good news for all Americans".

Members of the House Freedom Caucus moved a step closer to that on Friday, around the same time Rosenstein was announcing new indictments against a dozen Russian intelligence officers who interfered in the 2016 USA presidential election, Politico reported on Friday.

The indictment lays out a sweeping and coordinated effort to break into key Democratic email accounts, including those belonging to the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

In February, Mueller charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies in an elaborate conspiracy to interfere in the election.

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 US public opinion in 2016.

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"President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russian Federation takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won't interfere in future elections", he said. Trump and Putin are to hold talks Monday in Finland, a meeting largely sought by Trump. "There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime".

Despite the most recent indictment, the Trump-Putin meeting is "still on", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

"I would call it the rigged witch hunt", Mr. Trump said.

Mr Rosenstein said the defendants corresponded with several Americans during the alleged conspiracy, but added there is no allegation that any United States citizen committed a crime.

A dozen Russian intelligence officers have been indicted for allegedly trying to interfere with 2016 election.

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Could be just a coincidence but Andrew Prokop's right to note that the indictment specifies the Russians started probing those particular accounts that day "for the first time" and that they did so "after hours", which reads like an attempt to emphasize that it happened later in the day than the Trump clip above.

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

Mueller's indictment appears to mention the transaction, mentioning that in August, 2016, "the conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, transferred approximately 2.5 gigabytes of stolen data from the DCCC to a then-registered state lobbyist and online source of political news".

During a press conference early Friday with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, President Trump said he will be bringing up the issue of Russian election meddling at that time. 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. Trump said Friday before the indictment was released that he planned to ask Putin about Russia's election interference.

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