Rosenstein says 12 Russian intel officers indicted in special counsel's probe

Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictment of 12-Russian intelligence officers Friday afternoon for a number of crimes, including hacking state election systems and digitally stealing documents.

Friday's indictments come ahead of Tuesday's scheduled meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The charges come as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign to influence the presidential election.

The Russians were accused of hacking into the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

The indictment was of senior officers who worked in two units of Russian military intelligence, and that they covertly monitored computers, implanted malicious computer code and stole emails and other documents.

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Hillary Clinton's campaign organization and the Democratic National Committee may have been targets, including Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, but Rosenstein declined to identify them.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments at a press conference, which took place just after Trump and his wife, Melania, arrived at Windsor Castle for a ceremony with Queen Elizabeth as part of the president's European visit. "Free and fair elections are hard-fought and contentious and there will always be adversaries who work to exacerbate domestic differences and try to confuse, divide and conquer us".

In February this year, Mueller's team unveiled criminal charges against 13 Russians and three Russian companies for interfering in the presidential campaign, using social media and coordinating with low-level Trump campaign activists.

"We do have a - a political problem where - you know in the United States we have this stupidity going on".

Because Mueller has maintained public silence on his investigation, Rosenstein has made the few public pronouncements on the probe outside of legal documents and courtroom proceedings. "But it makes it very hard to do something with Russian Federation". But he added, "I don't think you'll have any 'Gee, I did it, I did it, you got me" confession.

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