Rod Rosenstein expected to announce new indictment in Mueller probe

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The Justice Department says the 12 defendants are all members of the Russian intelligence arm GRU, and attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

Twelve Russian intelligence officers were indicted on charges they hacked into Democratic email accounts during the 2016 USA presidential election and released stolen information in the months before Americans headed to the polls, the Justice Department said Friday.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says that Russian intelligence agents stole information on 500,000 US voters after hacking a state USA election board.

Additionally, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the contacts they had during the campaign with Russians.

The attacks were a signature feature of Russia's active measures against the United States; embarrassing emails were passed to Wikileaks, which released them publicly. They also hacked into networks and installed malicious software that captured keystrokes, took screenshots, and allowed them to take data from the computers.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the announcement, as Attorney General Jeff Session has recused himself from any investigations into Russian interference, having been an advocate of Trump during the campaign.

"Between in or around June 2016 and October 2016, the Conspirators used Guccifer 2.0 to release documents through WordPress that they had stolen from the DCCC and DNC", the indictment read.

Before Friday, 20 people and three companies had been charged in the Mueller investigation.

Mr Rosenstein said there were no allegations that U.S. citizens were involved in the alleged crimes.

The indictments come just days before President Trump is scheduled to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin during a summit in Helsinki, Finland on July 16. "When we confront foreign interference in American elections, it is important for us to avoid thinking politically as Republicans or Democrats and instead to think patriotically as Americans".

To date, Mueller's probe has netted five guilty pleas, including from Trump's ex-national security adviser, Michael Flynn, along with almost 32 indictments, including the president's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

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