USA indictments show technical evidence for Russian hacking accusations

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Republican Louie Gohmert asked Peter Strzok how many times he lied to his wife

The poll was also conducted days before special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE announced an indictment charging 12 Russian intelligence officers with interfering in the 2016 USA election.

The indictment accuses the Russians of being heavily involved in hacking computer networks of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign organization.

As of Friday, the inquiry has indicted 32 people - mostly Russian nationals in absentia - as well as three companies and four former Trump advisers.

The accused were part of "active cyber operations to interfere in the 2016 presidential elections", Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told a press conference on Friday.

Mueller did not allege that Trump campaign associates were involved in the hacking effort, that Americans were knowingly in touch with Russian intelligence officers or that any vote tallies were altered by hacking.

"The defendants falsely claimed DCLeaks was American and that Guccifer 2.0 was a sole Romanian hacker", Rosenstein said. Russian Federation has also denied any connection to the breach.

Rosenstein said at the time that the Russians had waged "information warfare" against the USA during the 2016 campaign, with the aim of "spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general". Trump, hours before the indictment was made public, complained about the Russian Federation investigation hours, saying the "stupidity" was making it "very hard to do something with Russian Federation". "If President Trump is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the summit in Helsinki should not move forward".

Communications between Guccifer 2 and WikiLeaks also undercut the contention of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that he did not obtain Democratic Party emails he published from Russian Federation.

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With the charges, Mueller's prosecutors have marked out another Internet pathway they say Russian Federation used to influence the USA election.

It also states that in July 2016 the Russian team hacked the website of an unnamed state board of elections and "stole information related to approximately 500,000 voters, including names, addresses, partial social security numbers, dates of birth, and driver's license numbers".

Prosecutors say that in August 2016, a US congressional candidate requested and received from stolen documents related to an opponent from an online persona created by the Russian cabal.

Rosenstein said the internet "allows foreign adversaries to attack Americans in new and unexpected ways". Indeed, an indictment that directly points to Russian President Vladimir Putin makes it much more hard for critics to dismiss Russia's culpability in election hacking as unproven.

The hackers also created false online personas, known as DC Leaks and Guccifer 2.0, to try to disguise the Russian origins of their work, Rosenstein said. When we confront foreign interference in American elections, it is important for us to avoid thinking politically as Republicans or Democrats and instead to think patriotically as Americans.

Rosenstein said the president had been briefed on the charges earlier this week.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been charged with money laundering and other crimes, while former national security adviser Michael Flynn has admitted lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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 DCCC about their opponent.

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