U.S. indicts 12 Russian intel officers ahead of Trump-Putin meeting
14 July, 2018, 05:00 | Author: Diane Mills
Twelve Russian intelligence officers were indicted by a USA grand jury on Friday, just three days before President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.
CBS News' Paula Reid has details of the charges - and the reaction.
The White House is stressing that the new indictment against 12 Russian military intelligence officers contains no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the Trump campaign or that the hacking the Russians are accused of conducting affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
As of Friday, the inquiry has indicted 32 people - mostly Russian nationals in absentia - as well as three companies and four former Trump advisers. Trump and Putin are to hold talks Monday in Finland, a meeting largely sought by Trump.
After the indictments were announced, top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer called on Mr Trump to cancel his meeting with Mr Putin until Russian Federation takes steps to prove it will not interfere in future elections.
"There is no allegation in the indictment that the Americans knew they were communicating with Russian intelligence officers", Rosenstein said.
If the involvement of the GRU officers in the hacking effort is proved, it would shatter the Kremlin denials of the Russian state's involvement in the US elections.
In all, the Russian officials and their co-conspirators targeted more than 300 people associated with the Clinton campaign and other Democratic Party organizations starting in March 2016, the indictment says.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (L) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) behind him on May 4, 2017. And they say that on the same day Trump said in a speech, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing", Russian hackers tried for the first time to break into email accounts used by Clinton's personal office.
He also said that the intelligence officers used the data obtained in the hack to influence the election by funneling it through another party. "This exchange is entirely public and provides no evidence of collaboration or collusion with Guccifer 2.0 or anyone else in the alleged hacking of the DNC emails, as well as taking place many weeks after the events described in today's indictment".
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. That includes "a candidate for the US Congress", a "then-registered state lobbyist and online source of political news" and a reporter.
After the indictments were announced, top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer called on Trump to cancel his meeting with Putin until Russian Federation takes steps to prove it won't interfere in future elections. Trump said Friday before the indictment was released that he planned to ask Putin about Russia's election interference.
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