Just three days before US President Donald Trump’s meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted on Friday for hacking Democrats in 2016 presidential elections.
Announcing the charges drawn up by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the 12 officers covertly monitored the computers of more than 300 employees and volunteers of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee.
They then implanted hundreds of files containing malicious computer code, stole emails and other documents and released them using fictitious online personas months before the election to embarrass Clinton and her party.
Russia said on Friday that the charges against the 12 officers are unsubstantiated and politically motivated to spoil the Trump-Putin summit to be held in Helsinki on Monday.
However, the White House said on Saturday that the summit will go ahead as planned.
Soon after Rosenstein made the announcement, Democratic leaders called on Trump to discuss Russia’s election meddling with Putin when they meet in Helsinki on Monday. Some like Chuck Schumer even said Trump should cancel his summit with Putin.
Another leader Nancy Pelosi asked Trump to get an assurance from Putin not to interfere in US elections again.
But Trump said from London that Mueller’s investigation is standing in the way of the US and Russia as they try to mend their ties.