The 12 defendants, all Russian intelligence officers, "engaged in a sustained effort to hack into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the DNC and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton", special counsel Robert Mueller alleged in his indictment.
In a statement during a press conference Friday, Rosenstein said law enforcement officials are seeking to hold responsible those behind the election meddling and defended the probe against partisanship. The indictment does not specify which state had been hacked.
He said the hackers did interact with some Americans in the course of their efforts, but noted those people had not been charged with a crime.
There is no allegation in the indictment that any American participated knowingly in the GRU cyberattacks, Rosenstein said. The indictment also alleges that organization 1 released the first set off emails from the chairman of the Clinton campaign on October 7, which is the same day WikiLeaks released the first batch of John Podesta's emails.
It said the officers then "released that information on the internet under the names DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0". Chris Christie, a one-time Trump advisor and ABC News consultant, said Mueller wanted Trump to enter his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin with this indictment in front of him.
But US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a Friday press conference that he notified Trump about the indictments "earlier this week" and that he was "fully aware of today's actions by the Department". "We know that the goal of the conspirators was to have an impact on the election", he told BBC.More news: Partisan Divide Deepens Over Trump’s Supreme Court Pick
Five people have pleaded guilty, including former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn, who was sacked as national security adviser after he admitted lying about his contacts with Russians on the campaign trail. The GRU also created other ways to pass the material it stole into the public, including a website called DCLeaks and a fake persona called "Guccifer 2.0". The description matches a contact that longtime Trump associate Roger Stone has previously said he had with Guccifer. His team is investigating efforts by Russian Federation to influence the 2016 USA presidential election.
If the Russian Federation probe is a "witch hunt", then Robert Mueller is a goddamn Ghostbuster. "This has gone from being a matter of curiosity and a matter of politics to being a national security issue".
There are two main intelligence agencies in Russian Federation, the GRU and Sluzhba Vneshnei Razvedki (SVR), according to The Journal of Defense Management.
Hackers also breached a software vendor used to verify voter registration information.
The investigation has already indicted 20 people - mostly Russian nationals - as well as three companies and four former Trump advisers.
A review of the indictment found that on line 22, the special counsel investigation said that Russian intelligence officers spent the better part of 2016 attempting to hack into email accounts associated with the Clinton Campaign.