Special Counsel Robert Mueller Indicts 12 Russians for Hacking

Deputy Assistant FBI Director Peter Strzok speaks during a joint committee hearing of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees

Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses related to the 2016 US presidential campaign.

"A similar situation occurred in February 2018, when Rosenstein called an unexpected press conference to announce the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and a Kremlin-linked internet firm on charges that they meddled in the 2016 presidential election", USA Today reported.

The group also allegedly conspired to hack into computers of state election boards, secretaries of State and USA companies that supplied software and other technology related to election administrations.

An 11-count indictment charges Viktor Borisovich Netyksho, Boris Alekseyevich Antonov, Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Aleksey Viktorovich Lukashev, Sergey Aleksandrovich Morgachev, Nikolay Yuryevich Kozachek, Pavel Vyacheslavovich Yershov, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk, Aleksey Aleksandrovich Potemkin, and Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev with conspiracy, money laundering, and identity theft for their work on behalf of Unit 74455, a branch of Russian intelligence.

Friday's indictments come ahead of Tuesday's scheduled meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. That includes allegations of hacking emails of the Democratic National Committee. There is no allegation that the conspiracy changed the vote count or affected any election result. Rosenstein said he briefed the president earlier in the week and he is aware of the indictments. "The Russian state has never interfered and has no intention of interfering in the US elections", Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said Friday.

■ They also hacked into a vendor that supplied software used to verify voter registration information.

After indictment of Russian spies, are Mueller and Rosenstein immune from dismissal?

"Russian GRU officers hacked the website of a state election board and stole information about 500,000 voters", Rosenstein said.

"There's no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime".

Because Mueller has maintained public silence on his investigation, Rosenstein has made the few public pronouncements on the probe outside of legal documents and courtroom proceedings. The indictment said the Russians adopted false online personas to push divisive messages, traveled to the United States to collect intelligence and staged political rallies while posing as Americans.

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 Russian hackers in the indictment are identified as: Viktor Borisovich Netyksho, Boris Alekseyevich Antonov, Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Aleksey Viktorovich Lukashev, Sergey Aleksandrovich Morgachev, Nikolay Yuryevich Kozachek, Pavel Vyacheslavovich Yershov, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk, Aleksey Aleksandrovich Potemkin, and Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev.

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing", Trump said at a press conference on July 27, 2016, referring to emails deleted from Clinton's personal email accounts. The group also actively targeted and hacked individual members part of the Clinton Campaign, the DOJ said. The 20 are four former Trump campaign and White House aides, three of whom have pleaded guilty to different crimes and agreed to co-operate, and 13 Russians accused of participating in a hidden but powerful social media campaign to sway USA public opinion in the 2016 election.

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