Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein announces that 12 individuals have been charged as part of the investigation into Russian interference.
A dozen Russians were criminally charged on Friday with hacking and leaking the emails of senior Democrats during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
Grand jury indictments against the 12 alleged Russian intelligence officials were announced by Rod Rosenstein, the deputy US attorney general, at a press conference in Washington.
“The internet allows foreign adversaries to attack America in new and unexpected ways,” said Rosenstein. Lamenting what he called “partisan warfare” in the US around the ongoing Russia inquiry, Rosenstein said: “The blame for election interference belongs to the criminals who committed election interference.”
The charges were filed in Washington by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, who is investigating Russian interference in the election and possible collusion with members of Donald Trump’s campaign team.
They were announced just as Trump arrived at Windsor Castle to meet the Queen, and as he prepared to meet Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, on Monday. Rosenstein said he had briefed Trump on the developments.
Rosenstein said those charged were operatives of the GRU, a Russian military intelligence agency. He said they had “corresponded with several Americans through the internet”, including an associate of the Trump campaign.
Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to Trump, previously acknowledged that he had exchanged messages with one of the online personas accused on Friday of being a front for Russian intelligence, but he denied knowing that true identity.
Stone told the Guardian on Friday that his correspondence about the hacked documents was “benign based on its content, context and timing” and “provides evidence no of collaboration or collusion”.
Thousands of emails taken from the accounts of staff at the the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, were published by outlets including WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.
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