A dozen Russian intelligence officers have been charged with conspiring to hack Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a new indictment in the probe led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
The 12 were members of Russian military intelligence, known as the GRU, and are accused of engaging in a sustained effort to hack the computer networks of Democratic organizations and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein planned to detail the new charges at a mid-day press conference. Mueller, as has been his practice, was not expected to attend the announcement. Court records show a grand jury Mueller has been using returned an indictment Friday morning.
Mueller and a team of prosecutors have been working since May 2017 to determine if any Trump associates conspired with Russia to interfere in the election. His work had already led to charges against 20 people on crimes ranging from money laundering to lying to the FBI. Fourteen of those charged earlier are Russians who are unlikely to ever be put on trial in the United States.
Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is in jail in Alexandria, Va., awaiting trial later this month on financial fraud charges stemming from activities that pre-dated the Trump campaign.
Mueller’s probe has come under sustained attack from Trump and his supporters in Congress, who call it a witch hunt and a politically-motivated attempt to hurt the president.
On Thursday, GOP lawmakers skewered FBI agent Peter Strzok at a congressional hearing over his work as the former lead agent in the Russia probe and an earlier investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. Over the course of a ten-hour hearing, Strzok fought back defending the FBI while also expressing regret for his personal statements expressing disdain for then-candidate Donald Trump.
Spenser S. Hsu contributed to this report.