Washington charges Russians ahead of Putin-Trump summit

World Today

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinDeputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice, Friday, July 13, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Just days before U.S. President Donald Trump meets one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Washington accuses 12 Russian spies of hacking the election that landed him in the White House.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

According to court documents, investigators say the Kremlin-backed hackers broke into the email accounts of the Hillary Clinton campaign — beginning eight months before the 2016 presidential election, but there’s no claim the U.S. Justice Department has proof they successfully influenced the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

They allegedly stole information, released it publicly and later communicated about its contents with members of the Trump campaign.

“There’s no allegation in this indictment, that the Americans knew they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers,” said Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General of the United States.
“There was no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy changed the vote count, or affected any election result.”

Before Friday, 20 people and three companies had been charged with Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. That includes four former Trump campaign and White House staffers and 13 Russians.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement: “It is regrettable that the circulation of false information in Washington has become the norm, and that criminal cases are brought for obvious political reasons.”

The U.S. deputy attorney general denied that politics motivated the timing of the Justice Department charges.

“The indictment was returned today because prosecutors determined that the evidence was sufficient to present these allegations,” said Rosenstein.

Back in Washington, some politicians called on Trump to back out of Monday’s summit with Putin.

But the White House says there are no plans to cancel Monday’s meeting between Putin and Trump. And Trump says he’ll raise the U.S. intelligence community’s allegation that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 presidential election – during his get together.

“I know you’ll ask will we be talking about meddling and I will absolutely bring that up,” said U.S. President Donald Trump.

“I don’t think you’ll have any, ‘gee I did it, I did it, you got me.’”

If Trump says he raised the question of election meddling with Putin, there may be no way to verify that claim. He’s expected to meet alone with Putin next week without any aides present.

Richard Weitz discusses upcoming Putin-Trump summit and impact

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke Richard Weitz a senior fellow and director of the center for political-military analysis at the Hudson Institute, about the meeting between Putin and Trump.