The Justice Department announced charges Friday against 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses during the 2016 presidential election, AP reported.
The indictments were announced Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at exactly the same time President Trump was about to meet Queen Elizabeth.
They indictments were carried out by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation.
The officers are members of the GRU, Russia’s spy agency and the successor to the KGB, and are all named as having allegedly hacked the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Democratic National Committee, and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
According to Rosenstein, the Russian agents created fictitious online personas during their operation, including the Guccifer 2.0 persona, which was previously believed to be a Romanian hacker
There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in the hacking, and no indication that these efforts altered the vote count in any way, Zero Hedge reported.
The Russians are accused of hacking into the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, and then releasing stolen emails on the internet in the months before the election, AP reported.
“The internet allows foreign adversaries to attack Americans in new and unexpected ways,” Rosenstein said. “Free and fair elections are hard-fought and contentious and there will always be adversaries who work to exacerbate domestic differences and try to confuse, divide and conquer us.”
The indictment comes just one day before President Trump is set to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki for their first one-on-one meeting. Trump was previously briefed on the indictments.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still aggressively pursuing evidence that would tell him whether associates of president Trump colluded with Russia, and it was reported that seven people associated with longtime Trump friend Roger Stone have been contacted by Mueller. Stone was an early campaign adviser to Trump and was the one who initially persuaded Trump to get involved in politics.