U.S. accuses Russian spies of 2016 election hacking as summit looms

Special Counsel Mueller departs after briefing members of the U.S. Senate on his investigation in Washington

Special Counsel Mueller departs after briefing members of the U.S. Senate on his investigation in Washington

Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, made the announcement Friday.

Russian intelligence officials used an IL computer as part of an operation to hack Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee documents, according to a federal indictment released Friday.

Rosenstein said these new indictments contain no allegation that any United States citizen committed a crime or that it changed the final vote count or election result. Court records show a grand jury Mueller has been using returned an indictment Friday morning.

The results of the poll come just days before Trump is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki for a bilateral summit.

The unfolding drama on both sides of the Atlantic reflected how Trump's presidency has been overshadowed by the Mueller probe from its earliest moments and how the investigation frequently tramples the President's attempts to carve out favorable headlines.

The indictment claims the group used spear-phishing to penetrate DCCC and DNC networks and the email accounts of lone individuals, where they deployed the X-Agent malware that capable of recording keystrokes, stealing files, or taking screenshots.

The indictment says that in August and September 2016, Russians posing as Guccifer 2.0 were in contact with a person who communicated with senior Trump campaign officials, flagging emails posted and offering assistance. He said Russia's GRU military intelligence service was behind online entities that disseminated and promoted the documents under the names Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks.

"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. It contains no allegations that United States citizens committed a crime, he said. Nor is there any allegation that the hacking altered the vote count or changed the outcome of the election.

Angry baby Donald Trump blimp will take flight in Scotland today
President Trump gestures as he walks on the course of his golf resort, in Turnberry, Scotland July 14, 2018 . Ben Stewart, from Greenpeace, said: 'Theresa May should not have dignified Trump with a visit to the UK.

"What impact they may have had, what their motivation may have been independently of what's required to prove this offence, is a matter of speculation".

Mueller and a team of prosecutors have been working since May 2017 to determine if any Trump associates conspired with Russian Federation to interfere in the election.

The charges include conspiracy to commit an offense against the USA, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to launder money. If that link is established, it would shatter the Kremlin denials of the Russian state's involvement in the US elections, given that the GRU is part of the state machine. "This is not a witch hunt and it is certainly not a joke, as Donald Trump has desperately and incorrectly argued in the past", Perez said.

On Thursday, GOP lawmakers skewered FBI agent Peter Strzok at a congressional hearing over his work as the former lead agent in the Russian Federation probe and an earlier investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. On Feb. 16, his prosecutors charged 13 Russians and three Russian entities they said were part of a broader effort to sow discord among USA voters through social media - which they used to impersonate Americans, coordinate with unwitting US activists and even plan rallies.

The indictment, secured by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his ongoing investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 election won by President Donald Trump, was issued three days before Trump, who is now on a visit to Britain, meets Russian President Vladimir Putin for a summit in Helsinki. "And he replied 'Because of the Mueller investigation.' No Mr. President, the reason why relations with Russian Federation are hard is because Russian Federation and its agents interfered dramatically in the 2016 elections". Trump and Putin are to hold talks Monday in Finland, a meeting largely sought by Trump.

Stopping off at his Scottish golf course before his meeting with Russia, Trump resorted to his trademark deflection of responsibility and victim-blaming.

"I want to caution you, the people who speculate about federal investigations usually do not know all of the relevant facts. Pure stupidity", he said, referring to Mueller's probe. So while there were suspicions about Russian Federation, the precise motives behind the leaks were hard to divine. "Anything you do, it's always going to be, 'Oh, Russia, he loves Russia'".

Some of the state officials who run elections say it's important for Trump, a Republican, to take a tougher stance to avoid having the public's confidence in fair elections undermined.

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