Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, speaking on July 14 at a gathering of US secretaries of state in Philadelphia, said the Russians are using social media, "sympathetic spokespeople, and other fronts to sow discord and divisiveness amongst the American people".
Although a February indictment accused other Russians of spying and spreading propaganda on social media, it did not link those efforts with hacking, phishing attempts or distribution of hacked information to Republican operatives, a Republican congressional candidate and websites such as DCLeaks, which published the purloined material.
Rosenstein said he briefed Trump about the indictment before Friday´s announcement and that the timing was determined by "the facts, the evidence, and the law". These incidents can be traced back to July 2016 when the DNC revealed that their computer systems had been infiltrated by two different Russian entities known as "Cozy Bear" and "Fancy Bear". He also said Mueller's new indictment did not state that he had conspired with any of the defendants. The indictment provided one of the clearest illustrations to date of the inner workings of the Russian operation that carried out the hacking of the Democratic Party and other targets. The charges are a result of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which Mr. Trump referred to on Friday as a "rigged witch hunt" that is hurting US relations with Moscow.
"The open question is whether Americans were involved in this and will they be charged".
In the fall, a trove of emails hacked from Podesta were released within an hour of the Access Hollywood tape surfacing where Mr. Trump is heard discussing groping women.
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.
Mueller has discussed scenarios for winding down at least some of his office's work in the coming months, the people said, emphasising that the Special Counsel views his primary responsibility to be investigating - not necessarily prosecuting - any wrongdoing linked to the Russian interference efforts. There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. The Russians are nailed.
"The indictments Rod Rosenstein announced are good news for all Americans. Time for Mueller to end this pursuit of the President and say President Trump is completely innocent", Giuliani said.
The special counsel has also obtained guilty pleas from Trump campaign aides such as Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos and Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chair, in now in jail awaiting trial. The president has said he will raise the issue of election meddling with the Russian leader but doesn't expect him to admit to it.