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Deputy US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announces grand jury indictments of 12 Russian nationals during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington on July 13.
Deputy US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announces grand jury indictments of 12 Russian nationals during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington on July 13.

Russia Denounces US Indictment Over Election Meddling as Groundless

A federal grand jury charged 12 Russian nationals on Friday with hacking Democratic computer networks in 2016, in the most detailed US accusation yet that Moscow meddled in the presidential election to help Republican Donald Trump, allegations that Russ

Russia Denounces US Indictment Over Election Meddling as Groundless

Russia’s foreign ministry said there was no evidence the 12 people indicted by the United States on Friday were linked to military intelligence or hacking into the computer networks of the US Democratic party.
The US indictment named 12 Russian nationals and indicted them on charges of hacking the computer networks of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her party, Reuters reported.
The Russian ministry said the indictment was meant to damage the atmosphere before the summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in Helsinki on Monday.
A federal grand jury charged the 12 on Friday with hacking Democratic computer networks in 2016, in the most detailed US accusation yet that Moscow meddled in the presidential election to help Republican 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 Trump and Putin.
The document claims officers of Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, covertly monitored computers of Clinton’s campaign and Democratic campaign committees, and stole large amounts of data.
“In addition to releasing documents directly to the public, the defendants transferred stolen documents to another organization, not named in the indictment, and discussed timing the release of the documents in an attempt to enhance the impact on the election,” Deputy US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told a news conference.

  Mueller’s Probe
Friday’s indictment was secured by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into alleged Russian involvement in the election. It was the first by Mueller that directly charges the Russian government with meddling in the election. The Kremlin denies it interfered.
Rosenstein said he briefed Trump this week about the indictment. It contains no allegations that US citizens committed a crime, he said.
A few hours before the indictments were announced, Trump called the Mueller investigation a “rigged witch hunt” that is hurting the United States’ 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.
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 Senator Jack Reed, the 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.   
US intelligence agencies concluded in January 2017 that Russia, in action 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 Russian operatives provided direct assistance to a candidate for the US Congress, who in August 2016 requested and received from Guccifer 2.0 documents stolen from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee about their opponent. The candidate and the person’s 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.”
The indictment says the Russian operatives wrote to an unnamed person “who was in regular contact with senior members” of the Trump campaign. Trump ally Roger Stone told CNN he “probably” was the person referred to in the indictment.
The indictment says the Russian operatives told the person it would be a “great pleasure” to help them and later asked their opinion about a stolen DCCC document posted online. “[P]retty standard,” the person responded.
Stone denied passing any stolen emails to WikiLeaks. He said in a statement to Reuters, “The indictments today show I did not conspire with any of the defendants to do the hacking, distribute the stolen emails or aid them in anyway.”

  What Next
A former federal prosecutor, Renato Mariotti, raised the question of the next steps in the probe. “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,” Mariotti said.
Trump lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, in a tweet, said the indictments showed it was time to end the special counsel’s probe.
“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,” Giuliani said.
Mueller has secured indictments against several former Trump campaign aides, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.
 

 

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