US indictments show technical evidence for Russian hacking accusations

Glen Norman
July 14, 2018

WASHINGTON ― Friday's indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers charged in connection with hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign made it clear that the special counsel team led by Robert Mueller still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said no Americans knew they were communicating with Russians in this indictment and he had no evidence that the outcome of the election was affected.

Before Friday, Mueller's group had charged 20 people and three companies in its investigation. That includes four former Trump campaign and White House aides and 13 Russians accused of participating in a hidden but powerful social media campaign to sway American public opinion in the 2016 election.

CNN's Russia investigation reporter Marshall Cohen said, by CNN's count, that Mueller has filed "191 criminal charges against 35 defendants", including "112 new charges brought today against a dozen Russian operatives for hacking".

Trump, who is now visiting Britain, is scheduled to meet with Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

Rosenstein said he briefed Trump on the latest indictment earlier this week, as the president embarked on a European tour that included the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, a visit to the United Kingdom and an upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who Trump said was not his enemy, but his "competitor".

To help mask their Russian origins, the military officers used networks of computers located across the world, including in the United States, and paid for it using Bitcoin. Details describe efforts by "Guccifer" and other fronts to reach out to Americans, including one who prosecutors say was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.

The Kremlin has denied that the Russian government interfered in the USA election.

That evening, the indictment says, the Russians attempted to break into email accounts used by Clinton's personal office, along with 76 Clinton campaign email addresses.

The indictment connects the officers directly to the Russian government, saying they acted in their "official capacity". John McCain, R-Arizona, said Mr. Trump should cancel the meeting if he will not hold Putin accountable.

Mueller's indictment appears to mention the transaction, mentioning that in August, 2016, "the conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, transferred approximately 2.5 gigabytes of stolen data from the DCCC to a then-registered state lobbyist and online source of political news".

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

Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said earlier Friday that "the Russian state has never interfered and has no intention of interfering in the US elections". Pure stupidity. But it makes it very hard to do something with Russian Federation.

After the indictments were announced, top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer called on Trump to cancel his meeting with Putin until Russian Federation takes steps to prove it won't interfere in future elections.

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