The American Justice Department has announced that 12 Russian officials have been indicted in connection with the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. The investigation arose as a result of allegations against President Trump’s presidential campaign, that the campaign had colluded with Russia.
The new indictments do not directly implicate anyone who worked on the Trump campaign. President Trump was briefed on the indictments prior to his meeting with Queen Elizabeth. Investigators deny that the timing of the release is of any significance.
The indictments allege that the 12 defendants engaged in a “sustained effort” to hack emails and networks with connections to the Democratic Party. They are all members of a Russian intelligence agency under the military, and were acting in their official capacities.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was attacked during the campaign for having a private email server that shielded her from some government oversight when she was in the Obama cabinet. The server was very likely one of the networks targeted by the new defendants.
The indictment alleges that the Russians planned to reveal damaging information on Clinton, the DNC, and Democratic house candidates, under the aliases “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0”.
Rod Rosenstein, the current Deputy Attorney General for the US, said that there is no claim that the alleged crimes “altered the vote count or changed any election result.”
Who’s been Indicted So Far?
The indictment count for this investigation has now reached 35:
- 26 Russian citizens
- 5 American citizens
- 1 Dutch citizen
- 3 Corporations
The Dutch citizen was an attorney who was an associate of Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager after Corey Lewandowski was fired. Manafort has also been indicted, has pleaded not guilty.
One of the corporate defendants has also pleaded not guilty, while the other two corporate defendants are outside US jurisdiction.
The four other American defendants have taken plea deals and await sentencing.
All the Russian defendants are outside US jurisdiction, and if sentenced, are unlikely to ever serve that sentence.