Just three days before Donald Trump’s scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the 12 indictments of Russian intelligence officers dropped Friday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as the Inquisitr reported, contained a stunning revelation that appears to directly connect Trump to the Russian election interference operation.
According to the indictments, according to CNN, “after hours” on July 27, 2016, the Russian hackers named by Mueller tried “for the first time” to break into a private email server used by Hillary Clinton. The attempted hack came just hours after Trump, at a press conference in Miami, publicly called on Russia to hack Clinton’s server. The indictments appear to indicate that the Russian intelligence agents running the hacking operation got Trump’s message and acted on it.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said at the press conference, as reported at the time by NBC News. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
While it is correct that an employee of Clinton deleted approximately 30,000 emails from her private server, the FBI “found no evidence that any of the additional work-related emails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them,” according to PolitiFact, and that Clinton herself was not involved in deleting the emails.
The indictments charge that, “on or about July 27, 2016, the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton Campaign.”
“Spearphishing,” according to the FBI, is a technique used by hackers that involves sending phony emails disguised to look as if they come from an authentic source. But when the receiver clicks on a link in the spearphishing email, he or she inadvertently links to a server controlled by the hackers, giving them full access to the victim’s server.
Spokespersons for Trump later claimed that his “Russia, if you’re listening” remark was intended as a “joke,” according to a report on the incident in Esquire Magazine.
But as NBC reported, Trump at the same press conference re-emphasized his call for Russia to release the alleged “33,000 emails” when questioned by NBC reporter Katy Tur. Trump responded that “it gives me no pause” to call on Russia to hack his political opponent. “If they have them, they have them,” he said.
Though no Americans were named in Friday’s indictments, a report by ABC News on Friday may have given a hint at who Mueller’s next indictments may target. According to the ABC report, “at least seven people associated with longtime Trump friend Roger Stone have been contacted by (Mueller).”
Stone was in contact both with “Guccifer 2.0,” the fictional hacker identified in the indictments as an alias for the Russian intelligence agents and with WikiLeaks, as the Inquisitr reported, the document-dumping website where thousands of the stolen Democratic party emails were published.
WikiLeaks is apparently referenced in the indictments, named only as “Organization 1,” according to CNN.
As the Inquisitr reported, Friday’s indictment is the second time that Mueller has indicted a group of Russians for their interference in the 2016 presidential election — in a way that benefited Trump. In the earlier indictment, a Russian company known as the Internet Research Agency — owned by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin who is so close to Putin that he is known as “Putin’s chef” — was charged with operating a massive propaganda campaign on American social media outlets designed to influence U.S. public opinion in favor of Trump and against Clinton.