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13 July 2018, 08:09 | Devin Moran
Alex Wong Getty Images North America
The charges are against 12 members of the GRU, a Russian intelligence agency.
Twelve Russian intelligence officers were indicted on charges they hacked into Democratic email accounts during the 2016 USA presidential election and released stolen information in the months before Americans headed to the polls, the Justice Department said Friday.
The 12 Russians - each of whom were associated with the GRU, a Russian intelligence agency, according to the indictment - allegedly conspired with each other to "gain unauthorized access into the computers of US persons and entities involved in the 2016 USA presidential election, steal documents from those computers and stage releases of the stolen documents to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election".
Rosenstein supervises Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election and ties to Trump's campaign.
An embargo on the indictment was lifted prior to Rosenstein's announcement when a reporter in the main Department of Justice briefing room broke the information by reading a press release over a hot mic. They used a scheme known as "spearfishing" which tricked users into disclosing their information that allowed hackers to gain access to emails. They also hacked into the computer network of the Democratic National Committee.
He continued: "Before these new indictments, these Russian individuals, Mueller had already brought forward 79 criminal charges against 20 individuals and three companies resulting in five guilty pleas and one sentencing". He said he briefed Trump earlier this week on the indictment.
The announcement comes as Trump prepares to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Helsinki next week.
"There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime", he said at a news conference.
"It's important not to think as Republicans or Democrats, but patriotically as Americans", he said.
In the indictment, which became the latest development in the special counsel investigation headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, described the details of the transaction.
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