Twelve Russian intelligence officers hacked into the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign in the run-up to the 2016 election and released tens of thousands of stolen communications in a brazen effort by a foreign government to meddle in USA politics, according to a grand jury indictment announced Friday.
The indictment, which alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy involving sophisticated hacking and staged releases of documents, raises the stakes for a summit next week between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration", Trump wrote. "Why didn't they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in September, before the Election?"
Russian Federation has denied interfering in the USA election.
Nielsen's boss, President Donald Trump, has not said Russian Federation tried to influence the 2016 elections, and Russian Federation has denied interfering.
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. "It's very important that they meet".
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Stone denied passing any stolen emails to WikiLeaks.
The indictment says the Russian operatives wrote to a unnamed person "who was in regular contact with senior members" of the Trump campaign.
U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a news conference on Friday the GRU officers hacked state election offices and secretaries of state, as well as the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
59 percent of Russian citizens believe that the summit between Trump and Putin will have no effect.
Hours before the justice department announcement, Mr Trump complained anew that the special counsel's investigation is complicating his efforts to forge a better working relationship with Russian Federation. "The Russian state has never interfered and has no intention of interfering in the USA elections", said Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov.
The 12 were identified as officers with the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff.
The top state election officials from throughout the USA are gathering this weekend in Philadelphia amid fresh revelations of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. It accuses them of covertly monitoring the computers of dozens of Democratic officials and volunteers, implanting malicious computer code known as malware and using spearphishing emails to gain control of the accounts of people associated with the Clinton campaign.
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"Though votes were not changed" during the 2016 election, she said, "any attempt to interfere in our elections - successful or unsuccessful - is a direct attack on our democracy".
Trump said at a news conference Friday near London with British Prime Minister Theresa May that he wasn't going into the meeting with Putin with "high expectations". Among those targeted was John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman. Private speeches she gave to financial industry firms were particularly damaging within the left wing of the Democratic party and among independents frustrated with the influence of Wall Street in politics. He says previously the federal authorities would say they talked to the states but not always say whom they reached. Guccifer 2.0 said it would be a "great pleasure" to help.
The announcement of the indictment came at an awkward time for Trump, who met Britain's Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle on July 13 for tea during a visit to Britain.
"This exchange is now entirely public and provides no evidence of collaboration or collusion with Guccifer 2.0 or anyone else in the alleged hacking of the DNC emails", said lawyer Grant Smith.
But he simultaneously denounced the Mueller investigation as a "rigged witch hunt", and said he has been "tougher on Russian Federation than anybody". It was the first by Mueller that directly charges the Russian government with meddling in the election, which Trump unexpectedly won. The White House echoed some of those sentiments.
Colvin reported from Glasgow, Scotland.
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