Just three days before the Helsinki summit, the Justice Department announced the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers in special counsel Robert Muller’s investigation into Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts as he holds a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 12, 2018.
The Justice Department announced its indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Kremlin hopes next week’s US-Russia summit in Helsinki may pave the way for US President Donald Trump to visit Moscow and for President Vladimir Putin to make an official visit to Washington, it said on Friday.
Friday’s indictment places new pressure on Trump to address the issue, with several other senior Democrats saying Friday they did not trust the president to confront Putin.
“As Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said today: ‘There is no allegation in this indictment that Americans knew that they were corresponding with Russians”.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who was Democratic National Committee chairwoman at the time of the hacking, issued a statement Friday that said the organization “was the first major target of the Russian attack on our democracy”.
“Putin is not America’s friend, nor merely a competitor”.
Mr Rosenstein said the conspirators used fictitious online personas, including “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0”, to release thousands of stolen emails. With respect to voting machines and voting systems, we know that votes on ballots can be protected if they are recorded on paper that is then verified by the voter. And there’s no sign that Trump will demand that Putin turn over the 12 Russian intelligence officials the special counsel indicted – and they likely will never stand trial.
“I don’t think you’ll have any, ‘Gee, I didn’t, I didn’t, you got me, ‘” he told reporters.
Trump’s calls prompted leaders to call an emergency meeting at the summit Thursday, which delayed a session during which North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders had meant to discuss the Afghan conflict.
The ministry’s statement blames “influential political forces of the United States, who oppose the normalization of relations between our countries and have been manufacturing blatant slander for two years”.
They are expected to discuss the expulsion of United States diplomats from 2016 over issues including the allegations of election meddling.
For its part, Russian Federation said it was looking forward to the meeting.
Trump claimed he would be going into the meeting with Putin with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation better financed, more united and resolute. The indictment does not allege that Trump campaign associates were involved in the hacking efforts or that any American was knowingly in contact with Russian intelligence officers.
Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate minority leader, urged Trump to cancel the Putin talks.
But lawmakers worry Trump will fail to take Putin to task, particularly over the election meddling, which the Russian leader has denied. “China, Singapore and now Russian Federation”, he said.
Earlier Friday, Trump said he would question Putin about Russia’s election meddling when the two meet in Helsinki. “I love the United States but I love getting along with Russian Federation and China and other countries”.