The Justice Department charged 12 Russian intelligence officers on Friday with a litany of alleged offenses related to Russia's hacking of the Democratic National Committee's emails, state election systems and other targets in 2016.
The Justice Department's indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence agents on Friday was jaw-dropping in its scope and level of details into attempts to influence the 2016 United States presidential election. That brings the overall number to 32 people or entities indicted in connection with the Mueller investigation.
"What it does show is that it's not only when we have people in the administration, but certainly also people in parts of the press who have called all of this a witch hunt, that there was really no Russian interference, that at least in terms of an allegation, you have substantial allegations here against people really directly involved in the Russian government", Klieman said. Russian Federation has also denied any connection to the breach.
The indictments come days before President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16 in a closed conference that will only have interpreters present.More news: 'Reckless': Trump escalates trade war with another $US200b in Chinese tariffs
The indictment claims the group used spear-phishing to penetrate DCCC and DNC networks and the email accounts of lone individuals, where they deployed the X-Agent malware that capable of recording keystrokes, stealing files, or taking screenshots.
"The Russian state has never interfered and has no intention of interfering in the U.S. elections", Mr Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said.
Five people have pleaded guilty, including former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn, who was sacked as national security adviser after he admitted lying about his contacts with Russians on the campaign trail. He stressed that Mueller's investigation is ongoing. "The president's lawyer can certainly say he's fully exonerated by this, but I can tell you as a career prosecutor, when we investigate and indict the larger cases, for instance, the Rico cases - racketeer influenced corrupt organization cases - it is entirely usual that we return indictments in batches".
"A similar situation occurred in February 2018, when Rosenstein called an unexpected press conference to announce the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and a Kremlin-linked internet firm on charges that they meddled in the 2016 presidential election", USA Today reported.More news: USA will reunite and release over 50 immigrant children
Rosenstein told BBC that the defendants corresponded with several Americans during the conspiracy to manipulate the elections but there is no direct allegation that any U.S. citizen indulged in criminal activity.
A few hours before the indictments were announced, Trump described the Mueller investigation as a "rigged witch hunt" that is hurting the U.S. relationship with Russian Federation. The Russian military intelligence hackers snooped around online presences for state board of elections and county offices in Florida, Georgia and Iowa.
The broad strokes of the hacking operation had already been made public, but the indictment provided new details and named names.
They allegedly exploited these identities to release thousands of stolen emails and other documents beginning as early as in June 2016.
On Friday, Mr. Trump seemed unconcerned at the notion of Russian hacking, suggesting there was not much he could do if Mr. Putin denied it.More news: Tesla plans China plant with 500000 vehicle capacity