WASHINGTON (AP) Twelve Russian intelligence officers hacked into the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign in the run-up to the 2016 election and released tens of thousands of stolen communications in a brazen effort by a foreign government to meddle in U.S. politics, according to a grand jury indictment announced Friday.
The indictment stands as the clearest Justice Department allegation yet of Russian efforts to interfere, through illegal hacking, in the U.S. presidential election before Americans went to the polls and the first to implicate the Russian government directly. It had been sought by special counsel Robert Mueller and comes days before President Donald Trump holds a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
U.S. intelligence agencies have said the meddling was aimed at helping the Trump campaign and harming the election bid of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. The effort also included bogus Facebook ads and social media postings that prosecutors say were aimed at influencing public opinion and sowing discord on hot-button social issues.