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Indictments Handed Out to 12 Russians for Election Interference
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Putin and Trump

Summary: The Justice Department indicted 12 Russians for interfering with the 2016 Presidential election.

The Justice Department special investigation into the election has resulted in a federal grand jury indicting 12 Russian nationals for interfering with the 2016 Presidential election, according to CNN. The Russian intelligence officers are accused of hacking into emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party during the election, according to Fox News.

  
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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said at a press conference announcing the indictments, “The internet allows foreign adversaries to attack America in new and unexpected ways.” He added, “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result.”

The Russian nationals are members of GRU, Russia’s intelligence agency. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating the influence Russia had, if any, into the election.

President Donald Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday for a summit. Democrats are calling for Trump to cancel the meeting due to the missteps Russia took by hacking into private emails and releasing allegedly embarrassing and politically harmful conversations through the personas “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0.”

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Deputy White House press secretary Lindsay Walters countered, “Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along.”

Eleven of the Russians are charged with conspiracy to commit computer crime, conspiracy to launder money and aggravated identity theft. A separate defendant has an additional conspiracy to commit computer crimes charge.



The indictment papers claim that the Russian agents started in March 2016 using “a variety of means to hack the email accounts of volunteers and employees” of Clinton’s campaign. Her chairman, John Podesta, must have been an easy hit since his emails were leaked during the campaign. Campaign committees were also targeted by the group, including the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It read, “The conspirators covertly monitored the computers of dozens of DCCC and DNC employees, implanted hundreds of files containing malicious computer code and stole emails and other documents from the DCCC and DNC.”

By April 2016, the group started releasing the information they were able to hack.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats explained that while this kind of electoral interference has not happened in the midterms, history could easily repeat itself. He said, “In regards to state actions, Russia has been the most aggressive foreign actor. No question. We are not yet seeing the kind of electoral interference in specific states and voter databases that we experienced in 2016. However, we fully realize that we are just one click away … from a similar situation repeating itself.”

Oleksandr Danylyuk, Center for Defense Reforms in Ukraine chair, added that journalists are key in preventing this from happening again. He said, “Much of the kompromat will be provided by Russian proxies directly to American politicians and journalists. They must fight the temptations to use this information without checking its reality.”

Do you think journalists need to work harder to check their facts before printing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about the progress of the investigation, read these articles:

Photo: en.kremlin.ru



 

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