Trump Russia Probe End Game

Special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington in June 2017.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Twelve Russian military intelligence officers hacked into the Clinton presidential campaign and Democratic Party email accounts and released tens of thousands of private communications in a sweeping conspiracy by the Kremlin to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election, according to an indictment announced three days before President Donald Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The indictment contains special counsel Robert Mueller’s first charges against Russian government officials for interfering in American politics, an effort U.S. intelligence agencies say was aimed at helping the Trump campaign and harming the election bid of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The indictment lays out how, months before Americans went to the polls, Russian officers schemed to break into key Democratic email accounts, including those belonging to the Clinton campaign, Democratic National Committee Chairman John Podesta and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Politically damaging emails for Clinton appeared on WikiLeaks in the election’s critical final stretch.

The charges allege that the Russian defendants, using a persona known as Guccifer 2.0, in August 2016 contacted a person close to the Trump campaign saying it would be a “great pleasure” to help. And they allege that the hackers, hours after Trump encouraged Russia to find missing Clinton emails, tried for the first time to break into email accounts used by Clinton’s personal office.

The indictment does not allege that Trump campaign associates were involved in the hacking or that Americans were knowingly in touch with Russian officers. It also does not allege that any vote tallies were altered by hacking. The White House emphasized those points in a statement that offered no condemnation of the alleged Russian conspiracy. Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism about Russian involvement in the hacking.

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said in response to the indictment that Americans should “stand united against Putin’s past and planned future attacks against us.”

“All patriotic Americans should understand that Putin is not America’s friend, and he is not the President’s buddy,” said the statement from Sasse, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

If the involvement of the officers in the Russian intelligence agency known as the GRU is proved, it would shatter Kremlin denials of the Russian state’s involvement in the U.S. elections.

The Russian defendants are not in custody, and it is not clear whether they will ever appear in a U.S. courtroom. The indictment accuses them, starting in March 2016, of covertly monitoring the computers of dozens of Democratic officials and volunteers, implanting malicious computer code known as malware to explore the networks and steal data and using phishing emails to gain access to accounts. One attempt at interference noted in the indictment came hours after Trump, in a July 27, 2016, speech, suggested that Russians should look for emails that Clinton said she had deleted from her tenure as secretary of state. “Russia, if you’re listening,” Trump said, “I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

That evening, the indictment says, the Russians attempted to break into email accounts used by Clinton’s personal office, along with 76 Clinton campaign email addresses.

The Trump-Putin meeting is scheduled for Monday in Finland. Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer urged Trump to cancel the meeting until Russia takes steps to prove it won’t interfere in future elections.

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(2) comments

DOUG MORAN

Makes sense to me after more than 2 years and was happening even during the Obama years. We knew all this. Need to keep them out or provide more consequences as Trump has done more than any before him. (oh-you forgot that part) Indict? Court? You kidding me----the DOJ can't even get other lawbreakers to appear before their hearings and they live in the USA! Timing is interesting to make it more adversarial for Trump but I think he will use it to his advantage to corner Putin. Then, on top of this---what is best if you have a "bone to pick" with someone.
confront them in Media only, yell, name call, etc. from a distance like the Dems do or perhaps go see them face to face? I pick face to face by Trump. So--what does Schumer, Pelosi, Warner and other obstructionists follow through on? They claim Trump should cancel the summit! Ha! Other than watching their performances in the Oversight / Judiciary hearings with Strzok---this has to be a Joke!

JAMES DEMILIA

You use the word obstructionist to reference the current Democrats in Congress but you seem to have forgotten the GOP obstructionists that spent six years making sure Obama couldn't get anything done! Making Obama a one term president became the number one goal of Mitch McConnell and he failed miserably as usual. I hate partisanship but the game is open to all parties!!

Welcome to the discussion.

Please keep it clean, turn off CAPS LOCK and don't threaten anyone. Be truthful, nice and proactive. And share with us - we love to hear eyewitness accounts.

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