The indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller targets 12 Russian intelligence officers for engaging in a sustained effort to hackDemocrats and aides to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Separately, The Daily Beast reported that Mueller's team has determined that the person calling himself Guccifer 2.0, who leaked sensitive DNC documents in the months leading to the 2016 election, is a Russian intelligence officer. Eleven of the 12 operatives are also charged with money laundering, as they are alleged to have used cryptocurrencies to fund their activities while concealing their connections to the Russian government; and with aggravated identity theft, for using peoples' names and passwords to commit fraud.
The announcement comes just days before President Trump's planned meeting with his Russian counterpart, President Putin, scheduled for Monday, July 16.
Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's emails were also hacked.More news: Police officer resigns ahead of hearing on Puerto Rico shirt incident
The intrusion into accounts of volunteers and employees of the Clinton campaign began in March 2016, then the DNC and DCCC were hacked.
In August 2016, the indictment says, "the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, sent a reporter stolen documents pertaining to the Black Lives Matter movement, The reporter responded by discussing when to release the documents and offering to write an article about their release".
Mr Rosenstein said: "The defendants covertly monitored the computers, implanted hundreds of files containing malicious computer code, and stole emails and other documents". Among those indictments includes three Trump associates who have pleaded guilty and 14 other Russian citizens. He said he briefed Trump earlier this week on the indictment.
At the same press conference, Trump appeared to directly call upon Russian intelligence services to hack the former secretary of state's email account and to publish any information they stole as a part of their cyber-espionage operations within the 2016 presidential elections. The defendants were part of the Russian Federation's Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU).
The GRU, which answers to the Russian military's General Staff, is part of the state machine and its involvement would indicate that the orders to interfere in the USA election came from the very top.More news: Bottom and rear of Galaxy Note 9 seen in leaked poster
The indictment was announced at nearly exactly the moment that Trump rolled into the quadrangle of Windsor Castle to meet the awaiting Queen Elizabeth II in the symbolic highpoint of his visit to Britain.
If the Russian Federation probe is a "witch hunt", then Robert Mueller is a goddamn Ghostbuster.
Americans were not charged on Friday, nor were they named in the indictment.
They corresponded with 'several Americans, ' he said, but the DOJ is not alleging htat any of them knew they were talking with Russian agents.
PHOTO: President Donald Trump inspects the guard of honour formed of the Coldstream Guards during a welcome ceremony at Windsor Castle on July 13, 2018 with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II on the second day of Trump's United Kingdom visit.More news: Politicians, Bollywood stars lose followers as Twitter goes on a clean-up drive