12 Russian Intelligence Officers Charged Over 2016 Election Hacking

The Justice Department is bringing charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign as part of the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“The Internet allows foreign adversaries to attack America in new and unexpected ways,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a statement. “Together with our law enforcement partners, the Department of Justice is resolute in its commitment to locate, identify and seek to bring to justice anyone who interfere with American elections.”

The charges are against 12 members of the GRU, a Russian intelligence agency. The statement notes that they began “spearphishing” volunteers and employees of Clinton’s campaign, including its chairman.

The charges add to an already substantial list of 19 other people and three companies charged in the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Collectively, the other defendants face more than 75 criminal charges, including lying to the F.B.I., bank fraud and conspiracy against the United States government. Among those charged include former national security advisor Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and former campaign foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos.

Five of those charged, including Gates, Flynn and Papadopoulos, have pleaded guilty.

Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan was the first defendant to be sentenced after pleading guilty for lying to investigators. Manafort awaits trial in an Alexandria, Virginia jail cell after his bail was revoked for alleged witness tampering.

Trump, who is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin after he finishes a trip to Great Britain, has been critical of Mueller and Rosenstein since the probe began. He regularly calls the investigation a “Witch Hunt” and has called both Mueller and Rosenstein “conflicted.”

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