The 12 individuals hacked into computer systems of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, stole information and then made the obtained documents public while working for the Russian GRU military intelligence service, the indictment said.
Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, on Friday announced new charges stemming from the ongoing Department of Justice investigation led by Muller, into Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.
Rosenstein said the suspects worked to "hack into computers, steal documents, and release those documents with the intent to interfere with the election".
"The indictment charges 11 of the defendants with conspiracy to commit computer crimes, eight counts of aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to launder money". However, there is no allegation against any USA citizen.
While President Donald Trump hasn't been a supporter of this probe previously calling it a witch hunt, Rosenstein said that he has been briefed about this indictment earlier this week and "is fully aware of today's actions by the department". "The Russian state has never interfered and has no intention of interfering in the USA elections", Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said Friday. "They also hacked into computers of a company that supplied software used to verify voter registration information".
"In my remarks, I have not identified the victims", Rosenstein said.
One of the Russian units worked to steal information, and another was created to disseminate the information, Rosenstein said.
There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in the alleged unlawful activity or knew they were communicating with Russian intelligence officers.
It is the first to implicate the Russian Government directly.
"We've seen that consistently, not just Russian Federation but also with China and other foreign actors, they've come out here on this stage, they've announced to great fanfare that they're indicting people for hacking and interfering either with our economy or in this case our elections, but none of them have ever been brought here to face trial", Reid said.
"If it is Russian Federation, which it probably is not, nobody knows who it is, but if it is Russian Federation, it's really bad for a different reason because it shows how little respect they have for our country when they would hack into a major party and get everything", Trump said. Clinton has said she's pretty sure the Russian leaks of Podesta's emails in October cost her.
"Free and fair elections are hard fought and contentious and there will always be adversaries who work to exacerbate domestic differences and try to confuse, divide and conquer us", he said.
Those charged include Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, who admitted guilt to one count of lying to investigators on December 1; former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's longtime partner and deputy campaign chair Rick Gates and campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. On Feb. 16, his prosecutors charged 13 Russians and three Russian entities they said were part of a broader effort to sow discord among US voters through social media - which they used to impersonate Americans, coordinate with unwitting USA activists and even plan rallies.
Donald Trump has often scoffed at the notion that Russian Federation was behind the hacking of a Democratic National Committee server.