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U.S. accuses Russian spies of 2016 election hacking, summit looms

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U.S. accuses Russian spies of 2016 election hacking, summit looms

By David Shepardson and Warren Strobel

 

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Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announces grand jury indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, U.S., July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal grand jury on Friday charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democratic computer networks in 2016, in the most detailed U.S. accusation yet that Moscow meddled in the presidential election to help Republican Donald Trump.

 

The indictment, which alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy involving sophisticated hacking and staged releases of documents, raises the stakes for a summit next week between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

 

Officers of Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU, covertly monitored computers of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign and Democratic campaign committees, and stole large amounts of data, the indictment said.

 

"In addition to releasing documents directly to the public, the defendants transferred stolen documents to another organisation, not named in the indictment, and discussed timing the release of the documents in an attempt to enhance the impact on the election," Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told a news conference.

 

Friday's indictment was secured by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into Russian involvement in the election. It was the first by Mueller that directly charges the Russian government with meddling in the election, unexpectedly won by Trump. The Kremlin denies it interfered.

 

Rosenstein said he briefed Trump earlier this week about the indictment. It contains no allegations that U.S. citizens committed a crime, he said.

 

A few hours before the indictments were announced, Trump described the Mueller investigation as a "rigged witch hunt" that is hurting the U.S. relationship with Russia.

 

The announcement of the indictment came at an awkward time for Trump, who met Britain's Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle on Friday for tea during a visit to Britain.

 

Trump said he would "absolutely, firmly ask" Putin about the meddling at their planned meeting in Helsinki on Monday.

 

The Russian foreign ministry said on Friday that the indictment aimed to damage the atmosphere before the summit. It said there was no evidence that the 12 people mentioned were linked to military intelligence or hacking.

 

Several prominent Democratic lawmakers called on Trump to cancel the summit.

 

"In light of this stunning indictment by the Justice Department that these Russian conspirators attacked our democracy and were communicating with Americans to interfere in our election, President Trump should immediately cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin," said Sen. Jack Reed, ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

 

PROPAGANDA, HACKING

 

Mueller is investigating whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia and whether the president has unlawfully sought to obstruct the Russia investigation.

 

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in January, 2017 that Russia, in an effort ordered by Putin, used propaganda and hacking to meddle in the election to harm Clinton and eventually help Trump.

 

But the 29-page document describes several incidents in which the alleged Russian hackers, using the internet personas DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, were in contact with Americans.

 

It says that Russian operatives provided direct assistance to a candidate for the U.S. Congress, who in August 2016 requested and received from Guccifer 2.0 documents stolen from the DCCC about their opponent. The candidate and their party affiliation were not identified.

 

That same month, the indictment says, "the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, sent a reporter stolen documents pertaining to the Black Lives Matter movement," which was a sensitive political issue for the Democratic Party.

 

The reporter, who was not identified "responded by discussing when to release the documents and offering to write an article about their release."

 

Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, said, "The open question is whether Americans were involved in this and will they be charged. You can certainly imagine a subsequent indictment in the future of an American of being part of this conspiracy."

 

The indictment notes that on or about July 27, 2016 the Russians attempted for the first time to break into email accounts "at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they also targeted 76 email addresses at the domain of the Clinton Campaign."

 

That same day, candidate Trump told a press conference: "Russia if you are listening I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 (Clinton) emails that are missing," referring to emails from a private server earlier used by Clinton.

 

The indictment documents extensive cooperation between the Russian hackers and the unnamed "Organisation 1."

 

That group appears to match WikiLeaks, which released large numbers of hacked Democratic Party emails during the 2016 campaign.

 

On July 22, 2016, Organisation 1 "released over 20,000 emails and other documents stolen from the DNC network by the Conspirators," the indictment said. That matches the date that a WikiLeaks began publishing internal DNC documents.

 

WikiLeaks, which was not indicted, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

In June 2016, "Organisation 1 sent a private message to Guccifer 2.0 to ‘end any new material [stolen from the DNC] here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing," the indictment said.

 

'RUSSIANS ARE NAILED'

 

Trump lawyer Rudolph Giuliani said in a tweet after the indictments were unveiled:

 

"The indictments Rod Rosenstein announced are good news for all Americans. The Russians are nailed. No Americans are involved. Time for Mueller to end this pursuit of the President and say President Trump is completely innocent."

 

Mueller has secured indictments against several former Trump campaign aides, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn.

 

In February, Mueller charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies in an elaborate conspiracy to interfere in the election. That indictment said the Russians adopted false online personas to push divisive messages, travelled to the United States to collect intelligence and staged political rallies while posing as Americans.

 

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-07-14
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3 hours ago, pegman said:

Watching American cable news. Hosts on CNN & MSNBC are demanding Trump confront Putin about the election hacking. Don't these morons know that would be like Bonnie confronting Clyde about their robbing banks?

I don’t think they expect Trump to confront Putin, but they are putting the public gaze in his actions (or lack there of).

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11 minutes ago, Chomper Higgot said:

The DoJ advised Trump that these indictments were being issued ahead of thine. After learning of these, Trump tweeted:

 

“Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida is one of the finest and most talented people in Congress. ........ He has my Full Endorsement!”

 

Freudian slip.

 

Gaetz (and Brian Mast) are cooked.

 

 

 

 

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Mueller recently acquired 200 blank subpoenas. I wonder who's names will be going on them? I bet half of D.C. is wondering the same . . .

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Soon Donald soon I’m sure air force one could deliver you to Leavenworth Kansas they have a room for you

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14 minutes ago, riclag said:

 1 month ago he did 70.so now that's 270.A side note ,the warlocks Mueller and Rosenstein played a trick on the POTUS. He might as well indited Russian ghosts,cause these people aren't settin foot in the USA,so know way to prove or disprove their allegations.

The indictments include two Americans, one who is a Congressman.

 

And while you are correct, the Russians will not set foot in the US, however they remain under investigation and cannot be pardoned by the President.

 

An investigation he can’t shut down that is focused on the crimes he’s trying to hide.

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1 minute ago, Chomper Higgot said:

The indictments include two Americans, one who is a Congressman.

 

And while you are correct, the Russians will not set foot in the US, however they remain under investigation and cannot be pardoned by the President.

 

An investigation he can’t shut down that is focused on the crimes he’s trying to hide.

whats their names

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3 minutes ago, jb61 said:

The investigation has progressed, more information has come to light.

 

And now 12 more indictments.

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