A dozen Russian intelligence officers have been charged with conspiring to hack democrats during the presidential campaign in 2016, according to a new accusation in the session led by the Special Council Robert S. Mueller III.
The 12 were members of a Russian military intelligence agency called GRU and accused of engaging in a continued effort to hack computer networks for democratic organizations and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein accounted for the new allegations at a news conference at noon. Mueller, who has been his practice, did not participate in the message. Court record shows that a large jury Mueller has used a prosecution Friday morning.
The message comes days before President Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland. Rosenstein said he informed Trump earlier this week about the allegations.
Rosenstein said the suspects worked to "hack computers, steal documents and release those documents with the intention of disturbing the election."
Hackarna also created the fake online characters DC Leaks and Guccifer 2.0 to try to hide the Russian origins in their work, Rosenstein said.
He said the hackers interacted with some Americans during their efforts, but noted that they had not been subjected to a crime.
"There is no assertion in this accusation that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no claim that the conspiracy changed the voting bill or affected the election results," said Rosenstein. "The goal of the conspirators was to influence the election. What impact they have had. . . is a matter of speculation, it is not our responsibility. "
Mueller and a prosecutor's team have been working since May 2017 to determine if any Trump co-workers collaborated with Russia to disturb the election. With the new accusation, his office has filed charges against 32 people in crimes ranging from hacking to money laundering to lie to the FBI. Twenty-two of the accused are Russians who are likely to never be subject to trial in the United States.
Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort is in prison in Alexandria, Va., and is waiting for trial later this month if economic fraud charges deriving from activities preceding the Trump campaign.
Mueller's probe has come under the attack from Trump and his supporters in Congress, calling it a witch hunt and a politically motivated attempt to hurt the president.
On Thursday , GOP legislator skipped the FBI agent Peter Strzok at a congressional hearing about his work as the former leading agent in R ysslands probe and a previous investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server when she was state secretary. During a 10-hour hearing, Strzok stretched back and defended the FBI while expressing regret for his personal statements revealing contempt for Trump.
Spenser S. Hsu contributed to this report.