WASHINGTON — Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers for conspiring to hack the Democratic National Committee in 2016 and other email accounts in an effort to interfere with the 2016 election.
The indictments come just days before President Donald Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments at a press conference, which took place just after Trump and his wife, Melania, arrived at Windsor Castle for a ceremony with Queen Elizabeth as part of the president’s European visit.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, responded to the indictments on Twitter. He wrote, “The indictments Rod Rosenstein announced are good news for all Americans. The Russians are nailed. No Americans are involved. Time for Mueller to end this pursuit of the President and say President Trump is completely innocent.”
White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said, “as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said today, ‘There is no allegation in this indictment that Americans knew that they were corresponding with Russians. There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy changed the vote count or affected any election result.'”
She added, “Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along.”
Speaking to reporters outside his office on Friday, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), said it was time for Trump and his allies to refer to Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt.” Warner, who is the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, also said he has concerns that Trump and Putin will meet alone. He said he was afraid that the president “could be taken advantage of” and that he made the issue of Russian interference a priority. If not, he said, “the meeting should be canceled.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged Trump to cancel the meeting with Putin.