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News Link • Investigations

Let's See Who's Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians

• By SCOTT RITTER

It was a remarkable moment in a remarkable press conference. President Donald Trump had just finished a controversial summit meeting in Helsinki with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, and the two were talking to the media. Jeff Mason, a political affairs reporter with Reuters, stood up and asked Putin a question pulled straight out of the day's headlines: "Will you consider extraditing the 12 Russian officials that were indicted last week by a U.S. grand jury?"

The "12 Russian officials" Mason spoke of were military intelligence officers accused of carrying out a series of cyberattacks against various American-based computer networks (including those belonging to the Democratic National Committee), the theft of emails and other data, and the release of a significant portion of this information to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The names and organizational affiliations of these 12 officers were contained in a detailed 29-page indictment prepared by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, and subsequently made public by Assistant Attorney General Rob Rosenstein on July 13—a mere three days prior to the Helsinki summit.

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