Rus­sians in­dicted in elec­tion hack

Clin­ton’s emails, Dems’ com­put­ers were among tar­gets

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - Front Page - By Chris Mege­rian

WASH­ING­TON — Twelve Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers have been charged in the hack­ing of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and Demo­cratic Party com­put­ers, the Jus­tice Depart­ment re­vealed Fri­day in an in­dict­ment that un­der­mined Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s mul­ti­ple at­tempts to down­play Moscow’s elec­tion med­dling.

The in­dict­ment ob­tained by spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller marked the first time he has charged Rus­sian govern­ment of­fi­cials.

It por­trays a com­plex op­er­a­tion, run from an of­fice two miles from the Krem­lin, in­volv­ing fake iden­ti­ties, spe­cially de­vel­oped mal­ware and de­ter­mined ef­forts to pen­e­trate Demo­cratic cam­paign net­works and steal sen­si­tive doc­u­ments.

Fri­day’s an­nounce­ment is also the first time that any­one has been charged with the theft and re­lease of pri­vate emails that dom­i­nated news cov­er­age dur­ing key mo­ments of the pres­i­den­tial race, em­bar­rass­ing Demo­cratic of­fi­cials and Clin­ton’s cam­paign.

The Rus­sians also at­tacked the U.S. elec­tion in­fra­struc­ture, pros-

ecu­tors said, hack­ing web­sites and com­put­ers that han­dle voter regis­tra­tion.

Sev­eral coun­ties in Florida, a key swing state, were al­legedly tar­geted as well.

The in­dict­ment does not sug­gest that Rus­sian ef­forts af­fected vote to­tals.

“When we con­front for­eign in­ter­fer­ence in Amer­i­can elec­tions, it’s im­por­tant for us to avoid think­ing po­lit­i­cally, as Repub­li­cans or Democrats, and in­stead to think pa­tri­ot­i­cally as Amer­i­cans,” Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Rod Rosen­stein said when re­veal­ing the new charges. “Our re­sponse must not de­pend on which side is vic­tim­ized.”

The in­dict­ment could hardly have come at a less op­por­tune time for Trump, three days be­fore he’s sched­uled to meet Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

Trump re­peat­edly has de­nounced the Mueller in­ves­ti­ga­tion as a “rigged witch hunt,” us­ing that term as re­cently as Fri­day morn­ing even though Rosen­stein briefed him this week about the lat­est charges.

Be­fore the in­dict­ment was re­leased, Trump said at a news con­fer­ence in Bri­tain that he would bring up the sub­ject of elec­tion in­ter­fer­ence with Putin, but warned peo­ple not to ex­pect “a Perry Ma­son here.”

“I don’t think you’ll have any, ‘Gee, I did it, I did it, you got me,’ ” Trump said.

Putin has de­nied that Rus­sia in­ter­fered in the elec­tion, an op­er­a­tion that U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies have said he per­son­ally or­dered to help Trump win.

The Rus­sian For­eign Min­istry said Fri­day that the al­le­ga­tions were an at­tempt to “spoil the at­mos­phere”

be­fore the Fin­land sum­mit Mon­day.

Rosen­stein said the tim­ing of the in­dict­ment had noth­ing to do with the Helsinki meet­ing.

“Our anal­y­sis is based solely on the facts, the law and Depart­ment of Jus­tice poli­cies,” he said.

Democrats urged Trump to can­cel his trip to Helsinki or con­front Putin once he ar­rives.

“Pres­i­dent Trump must de­mand and se­cure a real, con­crete and com­pre­hen­sive agree­ment that the Rus­sians will cease their on­go­ing at­tacks on our democ­racy,” said a state­ment from House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi, DCalif.

The White House said the meet­ing would not be can­celed. It re­sponded to the in­dict­ment with a state­ment that did not con­demn Moscow’s ac­tions dur­ing the cam­paign.

In­stead, Deputy Press Sec­re­tary Lind­say Walters high­lighted that no U.S. cit­i­zens were charged.

The in­dict­ment did not ac­cuse any­one from Trump’s cam­paign of con­spir­ing with Rus­sians, a key is­sue that Mueller has been ex­am­in­ing. The pres­i­dent’s lawyer, for­mer New York City Mayor Ru­dolph Gi­u­liani, de­scribed Fri­day’s

an­nounce­ment as “good news.”

“The Rus­sians are nailed. No Amer­i­cans are in­volved,” he said. “Time for Mueller to end this pur­suit of the pres­i­dent and say Pres­i­dent Trump is com­pletely in­no­cent.”

One of the ac­cu­sa­tions in the in­dict­ment does over­lap with a con­tro­ver­sial state­ment that Trump made dur­ing the cam­paign.

On July 27, 2016, at a news con­fer­ence in Florida, Trump said: “Rus­sia, if you’re lis­ten­ing, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are miss­ing.” Ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment, “on or about July 27, 2016,” the Rus­sians at­tempted “for the first time” to hack emails lo­cated on Clin­ton’s pri­vate email server.

Sean Spicer, when he was White House press sec­re­tary, later de­scribed the state­ment as a joke.

How­ever, Trump re­peat­edly cap­i­tal­ized on hacked doc­u­ments dur­ing the cam­paign de­spite pub­lic re­ports that they were the re­sult of a Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tion.


The in­dict­ment didn’t ac­cuse the Trump cam­paign of con­spir­ing with Rus­sians, a key is­sue Robert Mueller has ex­am­ined.

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