Special Counsel Robert Mueller Indicts 12 Russians for Hacking

Alex Wong  Getty Images North America

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who announced the indictments, said the Russians involved belonged to the military intelligence service GRU.

The 12 alleged Russian intelligence officials were indicted as part of the ongoing investigation into Russia's interference in United States politics, Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, was due to announce at a press conference in Washington.

Twelve Russian intelligence officers have been charged with hacking the emails of the Democratic National Committee in one of the most significant developments of the Russia investigation to date.

Trump, meanwhile, has been criticized for being reluctant to speak publicly about Russian interference into the campaign.

The hackers, the DOJ said in its press release, released the hacked information "on the internet under the names DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 and through another entity".

"The groups used a worldwide network of computers to hide their activity, paying for it using cryptocurrency", Rosenstein added. Three Russian companies have also been charged, along with top Trump advisers Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.

Mueller's probe has come under sustained attack from Trump and his supporters in Congress, who call it a witch hunt and a politically-motivated attempt to hurt the president. On Feb. 16, his prosecutors charged 13 Russians and three Russian entities they said were part of a broader effort to sow discord among USA voters through social media - which they used to impersonate Americans, coordinate with unwitting US activists and even plan rallies.

The unfolding drama on both sides of the Atlantic reflected how Trump's presidency has been overshadowed by the Mueller probe from its earliest moments and how the investigation frequently tramples the President's attempts to carve out favorable headlines.

"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.

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