The Justice Department announced indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election against 12 Russian nationals, accusing them of engaging in a “sustained effort” to hack Democrats’ emails and computer networks.
All 12 defendants are members of the GRU, a Russian federation intelligence agency within the main intelligence directorate of the Russian military, who were acting in “their official capacities.”
DOJ says the hacking targeted Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, with the intention to “release that information on the internet under the names DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 and through another entity.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the indictment does not name any American citizen.
“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime,” he said at a news conference. “There is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result.”
The indictment was announced at almost exactly the moment that Trump rolled into the quadrangle of Windsor Castle to meet the awaiting Queen Elizabeth II in the symbolic highpoint of his visit to Britain. It also emerged two days before Trump is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin — who has denied election meddling — in Helsinki for a summit that includes a one-on-one meeting with only interpreters present.
The unfolding drama on both sides of the Atlantic reflected how Trump’s presidency has been overshadowed by the Mueller probe from its earliest moments and how the investigation frequently tramples the President’s attempts to carve out favorable headlines.
Prosecutors from Mueller’s office and the Justice Department’s National Security Division visited the courtroom of a federal magistrate judge in Washington at 11:30 a.m. ET to return the grand jury indictment, according to an itinerary posted outside the courtroom.