U.S. grand jury indicts 12 Russian spies in 2016 election hacking

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionFBI's Peter Strzok Anti Trump bias claims'deeply destructive

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionFBI's Peter Strzok Anti Trump bias claims'deeply destructive

The effort also included bogus Facebook ads and social media postings that prosecutors say were aimed at influencing public opinion and sowing discord on hot-button social issues.

Russian intelligence officials used an IL computer as part of an operation to hack Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee documents, according to a federal indictment released Friday.

The indictment released yesterday states: "The Conspirators spearphished individuals affiliated with the Clinton Campaign throughout the summer of 2016". The Kremlin has denied that the Russian state interfered in the election.

It's unlikely the Russians will be taken to court, but naming them shows the investigation is aware of them and their actions.

Hackers also breached a software vendor used to verify voter registration information. Once inside the Democratic computers, they searched for keywords like "Hillary", (then-GOP candidate Ted) "Cruz", "Trump" and "Benghazi investigations" so they could steal the most damaging files.

None of the charges allege Trump advisers colluded with Russian Federation to interfere with the presidential campaign.

The indictment connects the officers directly to the Russian government, saying they acted in their "official capacity".

The DOJ also accused the 12 suspects of conspiring to hack into the computers of state boards of elections, secretaries of state, and U.S. companies that produced software used by states for administering elections.

A statement from the White House did not address the allegations of Russian government interference and focused only on what was not in the indictment. He also said during a joint press conference with the British Prime Minister Theresa May that his administration was "tougher on Russian Federation than anybody". Left out from the indictment is how the federal investigators obtained any evidence of this, given that the FBI never got access to the DNC servers.

Mueller previously indicted 13 Russians and three companies for allegedly interfering in the presidential vote.

The indictment does not allege that Trump campaign associates were involved in the hacking efforts or that any American was knowingly in contact with Russian intelligence officers.

On July 27, 2016, Donald Trump denied Russian Federation was the likely culprit in the email hacks, but also announced, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing".

"I think it really hurts our country", Trump said at a news conference in Britain after meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May.

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing", he said, referring to Clinton's deleted emails from her time as secretary of state.

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

A group of leading Democratic senators, including Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of NY, urged Mr. Trump Saturday either to cancel the summit or not to meet alone with Mr. Putin, noting that the Russian president is a veteran spy.

The stark contrast in approaches has been thrown into sharp relief as Trump and Putin prepare for their summit in Finland on Monday, amid unremitting criticism of Russian Federation from Trump's State Department, Justice Department, Treasury Department and Defense Department.

The deputy attorney general also stated that he had briefed President Donald Trump about the indictments earlier this the week.

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