The latest indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers from Special Counsel Robert Mueller showed that cyber operatives attempted to hack into presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign servers on the same day that then-candidate Donald Trump called for Russia to do so.
A dozen Russian intelligence officers are facing new USA federal indictments alleging they hacked into American computers with the explicit intention of interfering with the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller on Friday indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in the hacking of the DNC in 2016.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein denies that Friday's announcement had anything to do with Donald Trump's upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin - but they will cast a shadow over the summit nevertheless.
"We need to work together to hold the perpetrators accountable, and keep moving forward to preserve our values, protect against future interference, and defend America", Mr. Rosenstein said.
Beginning in March 2016, they allegedly used fake identities and bogus accounts to trick volunteers and employees of Clinton's 2016 campaign and gain access to usernames and passwords that they used to steal emails and hack into other computers.
Mueller is investigating whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation and whether the president has unlawfully sought to obstruct the Russian Federation investigation.
"After public accusations that the Russian government was behind the hacking of DNC and DCCC computers, defendants created the fictitious persona Guccifer 2.0", the DOJ says. "No Americans are involved", he tweeted, "Time for Mueller to end this pursuit of the President and say President Trump is completely innocent".
"There is no evidence that any American committed a crime", Rosenstein said during a press conference at the Department of Justice on Friday. Trump said Thursday he would ask Putin about the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 US election, but pointed out Putin will likely deny it. According to pages 15 and 16 of today's federal indictment, a candidate for Congress sought out Guccifer 2.0 in order to obtain stolen documents on his/her opponent.
USA intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation, in an effort ordered by Putin, used propaganda and hacking to meddle in the election in an effort to harm Clinton and eventually help Trump.
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. "There is no allegation in the indictment that the Americans knew they were communicating with Russian intelligence officers", Rosenstein said.
Some researchers said the indictment might have depended on USA signals intelligence, the fruits of which are rarely revealed, because it quotes electronic messages sent to an unidentified organization presumed to be London-based WikiLeaks.