Russians went after Clinton emails after Trump asked

Rod Rosenstein

Rod Rosenstein

The effort also included bogus Facebook ads and social media postings that prosecutors say were aimed at influencing public opinion and sowing discord on hot-button social issues.

Though the White House maintained that the indictments did not implicate anyone in Trump's campaign, they do say that a Russian official who hacked Democratic National Committee documents and then released them to Wikileaks "was in regular contact with senior members" of the Trump campaign.

An FBI investigation report showed that special agents did find several thousand work-related emails among those deleted by Clinton and her campaign that should have been turned over to the State Department for archiving.

The Kremlin denied anew that it tried to sway the election. On Feb. 16, his prosecutors charged 13 Russians and three Russian entities they said were part of a broader effort to sow discord among US voters through social media - which they used to impersonate Americans, coordinate with unwitting USA activists and even plan rallies. The Russians are accused of planting malicious computer code and stole emails and other documents.

Of course, Trump's criticism of the Obama administration rings hollow, as he has repeatedly cast doubt on Russia's election interference and has appeared reluctant to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable, instead praising him and seeking warmer relations with Moscow. His team is investigating efforts by Russian Federation to influence the 2016 US presidential election. At the same time, it admitted that the alleged hacking attack in fact did not eventually affect any votes.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice, Friday, July 13, 2018, in Washington.

According to the indictment, the officers worked for a military agency known as "GRU", which conspired to hack into computers of those working on the elections with the goal of stealing and releasing documents. The White House seized on those points in a statement that offered no condemnation of Russian election interference. This week he concentrated on the indictment of 12 Russian military officers for election-related hacking and CNN, his favorite news channel.

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Trump also questioned federal authorities' response to the hacking, asking why the FBI did not "take possession" of the DNC server.

Rosenstein has been the focal point of controversy and tension after he took over the helm of the Russian Federation investigation, naming Robert Mueller to lead it, in the wake of the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"I think this is something that people knew had happened all along, that underlying this, crimes were committed and that's why the Mueller investigation has been so important and needs to be continued in an unfettered matter", he said.

But, there is the little matter of Trump directly asking Russian Federation to hack into Hillary Clinton's emails.

That actually was part of a GRU-created website which pushed custom software onto the targets' computers, enabling the Russians to begin their spying.

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.

Mr Trump is due to meet Mr Putin in the Finnish capital Helsinki.

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