Updated July 13, 2018 12:33 pm EDT
A large jury in the Special Council has returned the accusation of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hack-related crime in the 2016 election, announced the Justice Department on Friday.
DOJ says that the Russians intended to disrupt the presidential elections in 2016, and all 12 defendants are members of GRU, a Russian intelligence agency. The prosecution claims that the accused began spearfishing volunteers and employees of Hillary Clinton's campaign and could steal usernames and passports, eventually hacking into the network of the Democratic National Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee. GRU, Rosenstein said, created and controlled the groups DC Leaks and Guccifer 2.0.
In another related claim, the allegation alleged that the Russian officers hacked a state election website and stole the information from about half a million voters, "said Rosenstein. The prosecution also claims that the GRU officers hacked into computers belonging to a company providing software used to verify voter information and targeted local and state-owned electoral offices.
"There is no assertion in this accusation that Americans knew they were correspondent with Russian intelligence officials," said Rosenstein in his statement.
The accusations come only a few days before President Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. Rosenstein said he informed Trump about the accusation earlier this week. Asked if he will pick up a ballot when he meets Putin, Trump said on Friday that he should.
The accusations come after Mueller's investigation has already led to the accusation of 12 Russian citizens earlier this year.
The accusation accuses 11 of those accused of conspiracy to commit computer crimes, eight bills of aggravated identity theft and conspiracy against money laundering, according to the special council office. Two of the accused are responsible for a separate conspiracy to commit computer crimes.
In view of alleged foreign involvement, Rosenstein called for unity and patriotism against foreign involvement.
"The partisan warfare driven by modern technology does not really reflect the mercy, dignity and unity of the American people," said Rosenstein.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Read the press release from DOJ: