Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Mueller indicts 12 Russian intelligence officers over 2016 election interference

Rod Rosenstein Modal Trigger Rod Rosenstein AP
Melinda Barton | 13 July, 2018, 20:06

Hillary Clinton's campaign organization and the Democratic National Committee may have been targets, including Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, but Rosenstein declined to identify them.

An embargo on the indictment was lifted prior to Rosenstein's announcement when a reporter in the main Department of Justice briefing room broke the information by reading a press release over a hot mic.

"The indictment charges twelve Russian military officers for conspiring to interfere with the 2016 presidential election".

The attacks were a signature feature of Russia's active measures against the United States; embarrassing emails were passed to Wikileaks, which released them publicly.

Thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian companies have also been indicted on conspiracy charges related to the Kremlin's efforts to undermine the results of the 2016 election with false propaganda distributed on Facebook and other social media platforms.

A few hours before the indictments were announced, Trump described the Mueller investigation as a "rigged witch hunt" that is hurting the US relationship with Russian Federation.

Rosenstein, who has been a target of Trump's ire over the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation, said it is "important for the president to know what information was uncovered because he has to make very important decisions for the country". Rosenstein said he briefed Mr. Trump on the indictment earlier this week. "It's important for the president to know what evidence we have of foreign interference". "Our response must not depend on who was victimized".

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Putin personally ordered a campaign to undermine "public faith in the USA democratic process" with the goal of hurting Clinton's candidacy and ultimately helping to elect Trump.

The announcement comes as Trump prepares to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Helsinki next week.

Trump has promised to raise the issue of election meddling with Putin, saying Friday he will "absolutely firmly ask the question" during their meeting.