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Mueller preparing charges against Russians who hacked Dem emails: report

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Mueller preparing charges against Russians who hacked Dem emails: report

Special counsel Robert Mueller is preparing charges against Russians who hacked and leaked information designed to hurt Democrats in the 2016 presidential election, NBC News reported Thursday.

The charges would center around Russian hackers who leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, according to NBC.

Sources told NBC that the charges could be filed in the coming weeks or months, and could involve conspiracy statute and election law violations.

This new report comes one day after NBC reported that Mueller was questioning witnesses in his probe into Russia’s election interference about Trump’s connections to the leaked Democratic emails.

His investigation is reportedly looking into whether Trump knew that WikiLeaks was planning to publish the DNC and Clinton campaign members’ emails, or if the campaign was involved in the emails’ release.

Mueller filed charges against 13 Russians and three Russian groups for interfering in the U.S. election earlier this month, alleging a conspiracy to sow political divisions in the U.S.

NBC’s report follows a report from The Wall Street Journal last year that the Justice Department had identified six members of the Russian government allegedly involved in the hacking of Democratic officials.

One former FBI official told NBC that Mueller’s pending indictment or indictments would likely target members of the Russian government, but that such charges would require consultation with agencies in the U.S. government first.

U.S. Cyber Command chief Adm. Mike Rogers accused the Russian government this week of using stolen emails in selective leaks to sow discord during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“The Kremlin has used hackers to steal personal communications that Russian operatives then parceled out in targeted leaks, and created fake social media personas and news items on all sides of controversial issues in the hope of stirring discord in the West,” Rogers told the Senate Armed Forces Committee.

NBC reports that in 2015 Russian hackers stepped up a campaign to fool Democratic Party and other U.S. officials into compromising their email accounts, using “spear phishing” techniques to attempt to steal emails from officials across Washington.

One of the officials affected was Podesta, as well as officials at the Democratic National Committee.

Updated at 5:43 p.m.

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