Mueller probe indicts 12 Russians for hacking Democrats computers in 2016

Mueller departs after briefing members of the U.S. Senate on his investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington DC

The top Democrat in the Senate is calling on President Donald Trump to cancel his coming meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in the wake of new charges that 12 Russian intelligence officers hacked into Democratic email accounts during the 2016 US presidential election.

The charges were drawn up by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director who is looking into Russian interference in the 2016 vote and whether any members of Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow.

The 12 were members of Russian military intelligence, known as the GRU, and are accused of engaging in a sustained effort to hack the computer networks of Democratic organizations and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

While Friday's indictment does not include any criminal allegations against a US citizen, the charges note that Guccifer 2.0 allegedly communicated with "U.S. persons about the release of stolen documents".

Probe led by USA special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for efforts to hack Democratic computer networks.

The indictment - announced days before US President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin - stands as the clearest Justice Department allegation yet of Russian efforts to interfere, through illegal hacking, in the election before Americans went to the polls. With that said, there is a chance this information may have been used during the primaries between same-party candidates as well, but with primaries nearly over in most states by the August 15 date cited in the indictment, this seems less likely.

All three worked out plea deals and have pledged to cooperate with the investigation.

The Russians are accused of breaking into the computer networks of several organizations of the Democratic Party to steal emails. But Trump also doubled down on his characterization of Mueller's investigation as a "witch hunt" that hurts America's relationship with Russian Federation. He said there's no allegation in the indictment as to whether they actually did affect it, labeling that speculative.

"The indictments Rod Rosenstein announced are good news for all Americans".

Trump told reporters on his visit to the United Kingdom on Friday that he planned to "ask" Putin about Russia's attack on the election.

"One unit engaged by stealing information, a different unit by disseminating the information", Rosenstein said.

The DoJ reports that the indictment does not claim that the alleged criminal activities "altered the vote count or changed the outcome of the 2016 elections".

Chiefly, the indictment names names.

The investigation has already indicted 20 people - mostly Russian nationals - as well as three companies and four former Trump advisers.

"This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent", it said.

He continued: "I think it can be fairly observed that, you know, this is yet another nail in the witch hunt argument coffin, and there are more indictments to come".

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