Although the broad outlines of the Russian hacking and influence campaign ahead of the 2016 USA election have been widely reported, the indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers by special counsel Robert Mueller describes for the first time the identities, techniques and tactics of the operation to disrupt American democracy.
The new indictments follow earlier charges that Russian operators of social media accounts had spread propaganda and false news stories during the 2016 campaign.
They also hacked into a national election vendor that supplied software used to verify voter registration information. 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. President Donald Trump, who uses Twitter virtually every day, has so far lost 300,000 followers.
At a press conference in the United Kingdom shortly before Rosenstein announced the indictment, Trump said that he "will absolutely bring" up the issue of election meddling at his upcoming meeting with Putin.
On the morning of July 27, 2016, Trump gave a speech in which he said 'Russia, if you're listening, ' he'd love to get a look at the thousands of emails Clinton had said she deleted from her tenure as secretary of state. The documents mention Guccifer 2.0 "communicated with USA persons about the release of stolen documents". And now one has to wonder, just how much did he know about what Russian Federation was actually doing?
However, a former federal prosecutor says while it's vital to know how Russian Federation tried to interfere in the 2016 campaign, there's still no connection to the Trump campaign and still no basis for why a special counsel is on this case.
The legal action is part of the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller.
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The 29-page indictment lays out how, months before Americans went to the polls, Russians schemed to break into key Democratic email accounts, including those belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
In fact, there is no evidence in the indictment that proves that activities of the Russian agents had any influence either on the votes cast by Americans in the US election or its results.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been charged with money laundering and other crimes, while former national security adviser Michael Flynn has admitted lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Russians are facing charges of conspiring to access computers without authorization in an effort to interfere with a presidential election, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.
Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone said he's likely the unnamed individual in the Justice Department's election hacking indictment who communicated with the persona "Guccifer 2.0".
The Russians also allegedly hacked into a state election system and stole information on 500,000 voters. But Trump also doubled down on his characterization of Mueller's investigation as a "witch hunt" that hurts America's relationship with Russian Federation.