Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein announced today that 12 Russians, who are members of the Russian intelligence arm GRU, have been indicted over hacking during the 2016 election.
Here’s the lowdown:
CBS NEWS – Twelve Russians have been indicted by a grand jury in the special counsel probe for alleged hacking during the 2016 election, including for hacking emails of the Democratic National Committee, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Friday.
Rosenstein said the 12 defendants are all members of the Russian intelligence arm GRU, and attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential election by spear phishing volunteers and employees of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. By doing this, according to the indictment, they were able to steal usernames and passwords, eventually hacking into the networks of the Democratic National Campaign Committee and Democratic National Committee. The GRU, Rosenstein said, created and controlled the groups D.C. Leaks and Guccifer 2.0., which in 2016, posted thousands of emails from Democratic party officials.
The indictment says that the alleged conspirators “spearphished individuals affiliated with the Clinton campaign throughout the summer of 2016,” and then goes on to say that “on or about July 27, 2016, the conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton campaign.”
On that same day, July 27, 2016, Donald Trump expressed the hope that Russia would find Clinton’s missing emails. “I will tell you this — Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” the GOP presidential nominee said at a press conference in Miami.
In another related allegation, the indictment claims Russian officers hacked a state election board’s website and stole the information of roughly 500,000 voters. The indictment also alleges the GRU officers hacked into computers belonging to a company that supplies software used to verify voter information, and targeted local and state election offices.
— GOP (@GOP) July 13, 2018
Rosenstein made it clear that no Americans are accused of any wrongdoing.
“There is no allegation in this indictment that Americans knew they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers,” said Rosenstein, who also noted there is no evidence the alleged hacking had any impact on the election results.
The indictment does mention that Russians provided opposition research to a congressional candidate, although that individual is not named.
The indictment claims the conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, “received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the U.S. Congress. The Conspirators responded using the Guccifer 2.0 persona and sent the candidate stolen documents related to the candidate’s opponent,” the indictment reads.
Some are complaining that this is an attempt by Rosenstein/Mueller to undermine Trump’s meeting with Russia:
People who will never face justice.
Ahead of Trump’s Russia trip.
They’re not even hiding it anymore. Rosenstein is openly undermining POTUS.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) July 13, 2018
Maybe that assessment is correct, but how do we know it isn’t the opposite, that perhaps Trump is making a statement to Putin before his big meeting? After all, Trump has been fairly tough on Putin. And just the other day Trump himself was arguing against Germany purchasing natural gas from Russia. Putin can’t be happy about that.
Here’s the full indictment if you care to read it.
As it points out in this indictment, the DNC was phished. Which means people were duped into giving over usernames and passwords that were then used to ‘hack’ the server:
BREAKING: Rosenstein just confirmed emails obtained through “spearfishing” email scam, which thousands of people including Republicans fell for. No wonder the DNC server was never examined by FBI. It was never actually hacked. This was a monumental lie by the Clinton campaign
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) July 13, 2018
And the White House has responded:
NEW: White House responds to Russian hacking indictments. pic.twitter.com/rtj16iq7yR
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) July 13, 2018