The Indictment of 12 Russians Could Be Laying the Groundwork for Future Conspiracy Charges

The following is analysis of breaking news based on opinions of experts cited.

Just three days before President Trump is to take off for his meeting with President Putin, the Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers on charges of hacking Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

“The indictment charges 12 Russian military officers by name with conspiring to interfere with the 2016 presidential election,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told a news conference.

You will no doubt be hearing much made of this part of the DOJ press release: “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.”

The indictment carefully states that there is no allegation in it that any American was a knowing participant. But this could serve as the foundation for future conspiracy charges or abetting indictments of Americans, according to Just Security’s Andy Wright.

There are also the questions as to if there are Americans who helped the Russian attack on our election unwittingly, and if they started out unknowing but moved into being complicit at any time. We have evidence of the Trump campaign being willing to work with Moscow and to receive help from Moscow in the form of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, and Trump telling Russia to hack Clinton’s server. Now we know that Russians did indeed hack Clinton and the Democratic Party, as Trump asked them publicly to do.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is a methodical, careful chess player who is using these indictments to build a case and put pressure where he needs it. While he might not ever be able to make a case for conspiracy, he is applying pressure from the outside in for a good reason.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin both deny working together to hack the 2016 election.

It is time for Republicans to stop playing games with our country and step up to protect the 2018 election from Russian warfare.