USA indicts Russian intel officers ahead of Trump-Putin meet

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump

Mueller, who has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign for more than a year, says the 12 defendants in Friday's indictment are members of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency.

President Donald Trump has yet to directly respond to the newly announced indictments of Russian intelligence officers for hacking Democrats during the 2016 election, but his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, cheered the results as "good news for all Americans".

"The stories you hear about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration", the president tweeted.

Rosenstein said the suspects worked to "hack into computers, steal documents, and release those documents with the intent to interfere with the election".

The GRU officers in Friday's indictment used bitcoin, the famous, high-value, decentralized electronic currency, to pay for the computer network infrastructure they used in their cyberattack.

Read the full indictment below.

The US president recalled that 60 intelligence officers were expelled from the Russian embassy in Washington in response to a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain. But the mixed messaging has left America's friends and allies confused, particularly after a contentious North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit where Trump questioned the value of the alliance that Putin has long denounced and sought to weaken.

Rosenstein said he briefed Trump about the indictment before Friday's announcement and that the timing was determined by "the facts, the evidence, and the law".

"I have a lot of faith in President Trump", he said.

She also noted there was no allegation the alleged Russian hacking impacted the outcome of the election. Instead it focused on the fact that no Trump campaign officials or Americans were implicated in the new indictment.

According to the indictment, the Guccifer persona communicated with an unnamed person who was in regular contact with senior members of Trump's presidential campaign and asked if the person found anything interesting in posted stolen documents.

Mr Rosenstein said: "We know that the goal of the conspirators was to have an impact on the election".

"If President Trump is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the summit in Helsinki should not move forward", McCain said.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the dozen accused used spear phishing emails and malicious software.

"The defendants falsely claimed DCLeaks was American and that Guccifer 2.0 was a sole Romanian hacker", Rosenstein said.

Among those who have been indicted in connection to the special counsel probe are former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, campaign adviser Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser on the campaign, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allied leaders, who Trump met with in Brussels earlier this week, are skeptical about whether he will be firm enough with the Russian leader, who has denied the US intelligence community's conclusion that Russia interfered in the election with the intent of helping Trump win.

On Russia's national day June 11, Pompeo said the United States honors "the citizens of the Russian Federation and their aspirations for the democratic principles of universal freedom, civil liberties, and the rule of law".

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