President Trump will have a talking point when he meets with Vladimir Putin in a few days: Twelve Russian intelligence officers were indicted on charges they hacked into Democratic email accounts during the 2016 US presidential election and released stolen information in the months before Americans headed to the polls, the Justice Department said Friday. The indictment is the clearest allegation yet of Russian efforts to meddle in American politics, per the AP. The indictment lays out a sweeping and coordinated effort to break into key Democratic email accounts, including those belonging to the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The hackers were members of an intelligence agency in the Russian military called the GRU, reports the Washington Post.
The charges come as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the presidential election. The indictment does not allege that Trump campaign associates were involved in the hacking or that any American was knowingly in contact with Russian intelligence officers.The indictment also does not allege that any vote tallies were altered by hacking.
Still, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the internet "allows foreign adversaries to attack Americans in new and unexpected ways." He said the suspects worked to “hack into computers, steal documents, and release those documents with the intent to interfere with the election.” Rosenstein said Trump, who meets with Putin on Monday in Finland, had been briefed on the indictments. (Read more Robert Mueller stories.)