With the Us President, Donald Trump’s Russia Summit looming in the horizon and amidst rubble-rousing Britons in London protesting against the President, here’s another news he could have done without right now. Back home, Special Counsel, Robert Mueller has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton presidential campaign.
The US Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein announced the indictment yesterday at a Press Conference in Washington DC.
“Free and fair elections are hard-fought and contentious, and there will always be adversaries who work to exacerbate domestic differences and try to confuse, divide and conquer us,” Rosenstein said.
“So long as we are united in our commitment to the shared values enshrined in the Constitution, they will not succeed,” he added.
All 12 defendants are members of the GRU, a Russian federation intelligence agency, who were acting in “their official capacities.”
Media reports state that 11 are charged with conspiring to hack into networks used by the DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The twelfth individual is charged with conspiring to hack into systems used to administer elections.
According to Trumps private attorney, Rudy Giuliani: “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.”
The 29-page indictment comes just days ahead of Trump’s scheduled meet with the Russian President, Vladimir V Putin in Helsinki, Finland.
Ahead of his meeting Trump has said that he will “absolutely” ask his Russian counterpart about Moscow’s alleged involvement in the US Presidential election.
He said he does not have huge expectations for resolving key disputes between the two countries and would instead focus on building a relationship with the Russian leader.
“I will absolutely bring that up,” Trump said of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“I don’t think you’ll have any ‘Gee, I did it, I did it. You got me!’ There won’t be Perry Mason here, I don’t think. But I will absolutely, firmly ask the question,” he added.
Speaking at a Press Conference alongside the British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump seemed reluctant to answer whether the US and Russia could realistically build a stronger alliance given Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine.
Trump will hold his first summit with Putin in Helsinki a day after meeting with NATO allies next week.
Replying to that, Trump blamed former US President, Barack Obama for not doing enough at the time to respond to the crisis.
“This was an Obama disaster. I think if I were President then, he would not have taken over Crimea,” he said.
Russia had earlier denied meddling in the US election campaign and Trump called special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe on the Russian interference a “political witch hunt”.
Trump and his wife Melania are on a four-day trip to the UK.