The Justice Department has identified more than six Russian government officials behind the hack of Democratic National Committee computers, The Wall Street Journal reports.
“The Justice Department has identified more than six members of the Russian government involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computers and swiping sensitive information that became public during the 2016 presidential election, according to people familiar with the investigation,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “Prosecutors and agents have assembled evidence to charge the Russian officials and could bring a case next year, these people said. Discussions about the case are in the early stages, they said.”
Dozens of other officials may have also been involved.
Thousands of stolen DNC emails, including messages from Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, were published by Wikileaks in the months leading up to the 2016 election.
According to a US intelligence community assessment in January, Russian President Vladimir Putin “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.”
According to the assessment, the GRU, Russia’s military-intelligence agency, “probably began cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election by March 2016” and stole “large volumes of data” by May.
The determination by Trump’s own Justice Department and the intelligence community is in stark contrast with Trump’s own position that it’s impossible to know who was behind the hacks.
Trump has suggested a number of theories that don’t delegitimize his win as admitting Russia helped elect him would.
In June of last year, Trump said the DNC hacked itself to distract from Hillary Clinton’s flaws.
“We believe it was the DNC that did the ‘hacking’ as a way to distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader,” Trump nonsensically said, according Politico. “Too bad the DNC doesn’t hack Crooked Hillary’s, 33,000 missing emails.”
At a September 2016 debate, Trump suggested a 400-pound person in a bed may have been behind the hack.
“I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC,” Trump said. “She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia. Maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China, but it could also be lots of other people, it also could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”
“I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable,” Trump added.
“”Now, whether that was Russia, whether that was China, whether it was another country, we don’t know,” he said.
At another debate in October, Trump suggested there was no hack at all despite stolen emails published online.
“She doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking,” Trump said. “But they always blame Russia. And the reason they blame Russia because they think they’re trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know nothing about Russia.”
Even in April, more than three months into his presidency, Trump insisted in an interview with CBS that the hack “Could’ve been China, could’ve been a lot of different groups.”