Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Donald Trump isn’t expected to confront his kindred spirit, dictator Vladimir Putin, over the indictment of 12 Russian spies for hacking the networks of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein briefed Trump early last week about these charges filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The indictment should take center stage at today’s summit with Putin in Helsinki, Finland. Statements made by Trump last week, however, indicate he doesn’t have the nerve to displease Putin.
Asked by reporters if he’d raise the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, Trump replied by saying he expects Putin to continue denying any involvement.
“All I can do is say, ‘Did you?’ And, ‘Don’t do it again,'” said Trump to reporters during the NATO summit in Brussels last week. This defeatist response is unpatriotic.
A federal grand jury on July 13 returned a new indictment of 12 spies as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The indictment targets 12 Russian intelligence officers for engaging in a sustained effort to hack the three Democrat organizations. All 12 are members of the GRU, according to the court filing.
GRU, the acronym for “Glavnoye razvedyvatel’noye upravleniye,” is the foreign military intelligence agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
The Mueller indictment describes how GRU intelligence agents began a “spearphishing” campaign in 2016 against volunteers and employees of Clinton’s campaign, including John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman. The spearphishing attacks allowed the Russians to gain access to the DCCC and DNC networks.
Once inside, the Russians stole emails and documents; covertly monitored the computer activity of dozens of employees; implanted hundreds of malicious files to steal passwords and maintained access to the networks. No Americans knowingly conspired with Russian intelligence officers.
Rosenstein described how “One GRU unit worked to steal information, while another unit worked to disseminate stolen information.”
Podesta, whose email account was hacked during the campaign, said he was heartened to see the Mueller action. “Donald Trump calls this a witch hunt? Well we’ve just found some witches,” said Podesta. “And they’ve been indicted.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a former Trump advisor, said Mueller wants Trump to enter his meeting with Putin with the indictment in front of him.
“The unmistakable conclusion is that Bob Mueller wanted to show that this is not a debatable point,” said Christie. “There is no debate that the Russians meddled in the election.”
In just over a year since his appointment as Special Counsel, Mueller and his team of prosecutors have filed 10 indictments covering 32 individuals and three businesses. They’ve earned five guilty pleas; have two criminal cases headed to trial and sentenced one person to prison.
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