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Mueller’s Indictment of 12 Russian Spies is Very Bad for Trump

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Mueller’s Indictment of 12 Russian Spies is Very Bad for Trump

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday obtained an indictment of 12 members of a Russian military intelligence agency for hacking Democratic party emails during the 2016 election—a rebuke to President Trump, who has refused to fully acknowledge Russia’s election interference, just three days before his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland.

The indictment, announced Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, will probably not lead to immediate prosecutions—it doesn’t accuse any Americans of crimes, as the White House was quick to point out, and it’s unlikely that Russia will allow extradition of its own officials—but the charges are still a big deal in the Trump-Russia investigation and they offer extensive new details on how the Russian hacking effort actually worked.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

Mueller may be laying the groundwork for charges against Americans

The special counsel charged the 12 Russians with “conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States.” The indictment says the object of that conspiracy was “to hack into the computers of U.S. persons and entities involved in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, steal documents from those computers and stage releases of the stolen documents to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

Any American who helped with the release of the stolen documents, or sought to benefit from their release, could be charged with participating in the conspiracy, regardless of whether they knew the real identity of who they were working with. And we know that there were in fact Americans involved; Rosenstein revealed Friday that “several Americans” corresponded with Russians pretending to be American or Romanian hackers, though he noted prosecutors are not currently alleging that these Americans “knew that they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers.” But, again, that doesn’t mean those Americans didn’t commit a crime, just that the Justice Department isn’t charging them right now.

“This indictment indicates there was a Russian conspiracy to harm Democrats and to undermine our elections by (among other things) stealing voter data,” Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor who often comments on the Mueller probe, tweeted Friday. “If an American joined the conspiracy, he/she would be liable for all of it even if the American wasn’t aware of all of it.”

Trump has egg on this face

The president has disputed or refused to accept that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help him. He did so during the 2016 campaign, even after the FBI informed him about Russian interference efforts, and has continued to do so since, while also downplaying the importance of the election interference. Just this week, he claimed he would raise the issue with Putin at their meeting, but suggested he would accept the Russian president’s expected denial. “What am I going to do? He may deny it,” Trump told reporters Thursday. “All I can do is say, ‘Did you?’ And, ‘Don’t do it again.’” Friday’s indictment firmly supports the conclusion of the US intelligence community and the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia meddled.

Russia stole important DNC data. Republicans may have used it.

The indictment reveals that the Russian hackers gained access to Democratic National Committee computers that housed information on the party’s analytics. That means Russia had Democrats’ playbook for what voters then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was targeting. This information could have helped GOP candidates, including Trump, plan their own voter outreach.

The indictment notes one congressional candidate who sought stolen DNC data from WikiLeaks. A campaign consultant for Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) has acknowledged using data provided to his campaign by the hackers in his successful 2016 run.

WikiLeaks helped Russia interfere

The indictment does not name the group, but it describes how an organization that is clearly WikiLeaks was used as a depository for hacked emails by the Russians and how it aggressively sought to time the release of material about Clinton to maximize political damage. “If you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo days prefabl because the DNC [Democratic National Convention] is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after,” says a typo-filled message from the organization to Guccifer 2.0, one of the fronts set up by the Russians. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied that material the group released in 2016 came from WikiLeaks.

The Russians had access to the DNC’s website longer than was previously known

News of the DNC hack broke in June 2016. But Russia appears to have retained access to the group’s server until October, months after the organization learned they had been hacked. The indictment notes that “Linux-based version of X-Agent, programmed to communicate with the GRU-registered domain linuxkml.net remained on the DNC network until in or around October 2016.”

The Russians employed sophisticated technical schemes

They set up a fake version of ActBlue, a prominent progressive fundraising site, and caused the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s website to link to the site, allowing the hackers to steal money meant for Democrats. It’s not clear how much money the scheme netted.

Trump allies played a part in the Russian operation

Former Breitbart writer Lee Stranahan, who now works with Sputnik, a news organization that was forced to register in the United States as foreign agent for the Russian government, communicated with the Russian hackers, via Guccifer 2.0, in August 2016, and obtained from them information about Black Lives Matter. Though the indictment does not name him, Stranahan acknowledged the contact Friday.

The indictment also seems to identify Roger Stone, a Trump confidant, as another American who communicated with the Russian hackers about the stolen emails, though it also doesn’t identify him by name. The indictment says that “a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump” exchanged messages with Guccifer 2.0, which Stone has acknowledged doing.

During the campaign, Stone, assisted by Stranahan, disputed suspicions that Guccifer 2.0 was a Russian front. In a statement sent to Mother Jones on Friday, Stone said his contact with Guccifer 2.0 was limited and “benign based on its context and timing.” He said the exchange, in which related to mostly to media coverage of the election, “provides no evidence of collaboration or collusion with Gufficer 2.0 or anyone else in the alleged hacking of the DNC emails.” Stone also told CNN he does not believe he is the person described in the indictment because, he said, “My contact with the campaign in 2016 was Donald Trump. I was not in regular contact with campaign officials.”

This makes that Trump-Putin meeting very, very awkward

Rosenstein said he informed the president earlier this week about the pending charges. But announcing the indictment Friday, just days ahead of Trump’s big summit, is a major embarrassment for the president, who has called for an end to Mueller’s probe. The timing makes clear Trump’s inability to control the Russia investigation. Following Rosenstein’s announcement, top Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, urged Trump to cancel the meeting. There’s little chance he’ll listen, but the charges hurt his hopes of promoting the Putin meeting as a victory.

Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect that it was not Rep. Brian Mast, but a campaign consultant for him, that acknowledged using data from the hackers in a 2016 campaign.



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Iohannis despre Legile Justiţiei: Legiferarea este foarte proastă, rezultatul îngrijorător

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Iohannis despre Legile Justiţiei: Legiferarea este foarte proastă, rezultatul îngrijorător

Legile Justiţiei au devenit cel mai dezbătut subiect public de când PSD este la guvernare, iar calitatea legiferării este foarte proastă, a afirmat joi preşedintele Klaus Iohannis.

“Legile Justiţiei au devenit cel mai dezbătut subiect public de când PSD se află la guvernare, ceea ce spune totul despre priorităţile acestui partid. Au început cu celebra Ordonanţă 13 şi au continuat cu modificările legilor în Parlament. Suntem într-o situaţie delicată şi asta numai şi…

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US military is depending on Russian ambassador to tell them what happened between Trump and Putin

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US military is depending on Russian ambassador to tell them what happened between Trump and Putin

In an interview with CBS on Wednesday, Donald Trump complained that all the coverage of his meeting with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin had not been “fair.” All the networks and papers had focused on his fumbling, fawning appearance at the press conference, his inability to stand up to Putin, and “a few statements” he made throwing his own country under the bus. When it was suggested to Trump that the media had provided wall to wall, accurate coverage of everything said at the conference, his response was telling.

TRUMP: I don’t care what they covered. They don’t, they didn’t cover my meeting. The important thing, frankly, was the meeting that lasted for two and a half hours, or almost two and a half hours. And in that meeting, we discussed many, many things that were very, very positive for both countries.

But of course there’s a reason why the press hasn’t covered the contents of the meeting. We don’t know the contents of the meeting. Trump has provided only shifting, and vague claims about what was said. The press conference was supposed to tell the world what had happened in the meeting, but it turned into a showcase of Donald Trump showing his preference for Putin over America. Which, for all anyone knows, is exactly what happened in the discussion we didn’t see. Only, as the Washington Post reports, someone is coming forward to talk about that private meeting. It’s not Trump. It’s the Russian ambassador making claims about what Trump promised his country when no one was looking.

“Important verbal agreements” were reached at the Helsinki meeting, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday, including preservation of the New Start and INF agreements, major bilateral arms control treaties whose futures have been in question. Antonov also said that Putin had made “specific and interesting proposals to Washington” on how the two countries could cooperate on Syria.

Preserving the arms limits under New START would seem to be a good thing, only … we don’t know if that’s true. We don’t know anything. Except that the US military should not be scrambling to discover what happened in this meeting by listing to the Russian ambassador speak in Moscow.

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SUA: Aleşi democraţi vor ca translatoarea lui Trump la discuţiile cu Putin să depună mărturie..

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SUA: Aleşi democraţi vor ca translatoarea lui Trump la discuţiile cu Putin să depună mărturie..

Mai mulţi politicieni democraţi din SUA au cerut ca translatoarea preşedintelui american Donald Trump din timpul summitului de la Helsinki cu omologul său rus Vladimir Putin să depună mărturie în faţa unei comisii a Congresului, relatează joi BBC.

Principalul ales democrat din comisia pentru relaţii externe a Senatului SUA, Robert Menendez, a cerut ca Marina Gross să compară în faţa acestei comisii, pe fondul controverselor apărute după summit şi mai ales după conferinţa de presă comună a celor doi şefi de stat, în timpul căreia Trump, după cum a susţinut el ulterior, s-a exprimat greşit.

Cei doi lideri au discutat tete-a-tete timp de circa două ore în capitala finlandeză, mai fiind de faţă doar translatorii. Trump a ţinut ca discuţiile să aibă loc în pofida anchetelor în desfăşurare privind presupusa ingerinţă rusă în alegerile prezidenţiale din SUA din 2016, câştigate de el. Confuzia legată de poziţia lui Trump s-a adâncit după ce liderul american a părut să respingă sugestiile că Rusia ar putea încerca din nou să influenţeze alegerile din SUA, ceea a atras o dezminţire promptă din partea Casei Albe.

Democraţii susţin că, fiind singurul oficial american prezent în încăpere în afară de Trump, dna Gross poate şi trebuie să furnizeze detalii privind cele discutate de cei doi preşedinţi.

“Vrem ca translatoarea să vină în faţa comisiei”, a declarat senatorul Menendez pentru postul MSNBC. “Vrem să vedem notele. Vom depune un efort masiv pentru a înţelege ce s-a întâmplat”.

La rândul său, reprezentantul democrat Bill Pascrell a afirmat că, având în vedere “concesiile” făcute public de Trump lui Putin, “Congresul şi opinia publică americană au dreptul să afle detaliile convorbirilor lor private”, iar dacă dna Gross refuză să vină în faţa comisiei, va trebui să fie citată. “Avem nevoie de mărturia publică a singurului cetăţean american prezent la întâlnire pentru a ne asigura că Trump nu a subminat şi mai mult comunităţile noastre de informaţii sau de aplicare a legii”, a explicat Pascrell.

Totuşi, notează BBC, ar fi foarte neobişnuit ca un translator să fie interogat de Congres. În mod normal, translatorii sunt cvasiinvizibili la summituri, iar Marina Gross este angajată a Departamentului de stat cu mulţi ani de experienţă în interpretare la cel mai înalt nivel, a indicat CNN.

Preşedintele republican al comisiei pentru relaţii externe a Senatului, Bob Corker, a declarat că va lua în considerare citarea dnei Gross, dar a exprimat dubii faţă de o asemenea idee. Translatorii “nu sunt oameni politici”, a explicat el pentru France Presse. “Pe viitor, li se va mai permite oare translatorilor să facă note la întâlniri, dacă se începe cu astfel de lucruri?” – a menţionat Corker.

Şi şeful comisiei pentru afaceri externe a Senatului rus, Konstantin Kosacev, a apreciat că ideea de a chema un translator să depună mărturie creează un precedent periculos, care ameninţă “întreaga idee de diplomaţie”, a relatat Associated Press, citată de BBC.

Tot un precedent periculos a evocat şi Gamal Helal, translator de arabă şi înalt consilier pe lângă patru preşedinţi americani şi şapte secretari de stat, care a afirmat pe CNN că nu ţine minte să fi existat în trecut o astfel de situaţie. “Ar fi un precedent oribil ca un preşedinte să nu fie liber să vorbească tete-a-tete cu un alt şef de stat”, a spus acesta. “Dacă ar vorbi în engleză, Congresul nu ar putea afla ce a spus decât întrebându-l pe preşedintele însuşi, sau pe Putin”, a adăugat el. AGERPRES/(AS – autor: Mihaela Toth, editor: Mariana Ionescu, editor online: Simona Aruştei)

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