Was Russia listening? Democrat hack followed Trump speech

Alex Wong  Getty Images North America

Alex Wong Getty Images North America

Twelve Russian military intelligence officers hacked into the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic Party, releasing tens of thousands of stolen communications, in a sweeping effort by a foreign government to meddle in the 2016 United States election, according to a grand jury indictment.

"The indictment charges 12 Russian military officers by name with conspiring to interfere with the 2016 presidential election", Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told a news conference.

Russia's Foreign Ministry is denouncing the United States' indictment of 12 alleged military intelligence agents accused of hacking into Democratic accounts in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's wide-net Russian Federation investigation has officially resulted in 191 criminal charges against 35 defendants, and that count may only rise. The 20 are four former Trump campaign and White House aides, three of whom have pleaded guilty to different crimes and agreed to co-operate, and 13 Russians accused of participating in a hidden but powerful social media campaign to sway US public opinion in the 2016 election.

"President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russian Federation takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won't interfere in future elections", he said.

Trump, who is now visiting Britain, is scheduled to meet with Putin in Helsinki on Monday. "There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime".

Rosenstein said the latest indictment did not include any allegation that Russian Federation was successful in their efforts to influence election outcomes.

Evidence of this includes the mention of state election boards and other non-federal institutions in the document, and its scope, which in essence is a legal attempt to hold the Russian state accountable for wide-ranging intelligence activities.

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The men are military officers, who Rosenstein says tried to hack computer networks and use different tactics to gather information.

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

Hours before the Justice Department announcement, Trump complained anew that the special counsel's investigation is complicating his efforts to forge a better working relationship with Russian Federation.

However, in a July 2016 statement, then-FBI Director James Comey said that the investigation "found no evidence that any of the additional work-related emails were intentionally deleted in an effort to hide them". Anything you do, it's always going to be, "Oh, Russia, he loves Russia".

Hours later, the Main Intelligence Directorate in Moscow appeared to heed the call - targeting Clinton's personal office and hitting more than 70 other Clinton campaign accounts.

The ministry's statement blames "influential political forces of the United States, who oppose the normalization of relations between our countries and have been manufacturing blatant slander for two years".

"I will absolutely, firmly ask the question, and hopefully we'll have a good relationship with Russian Federation", he told a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk as they make their way to take the "family photo" during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017.

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