Nearly two years before a grand jury convened by special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials on charges related to the 2016 hack of Democratic National Committee servers, presidential candidate Donald Trump laughed off that very suggestion.
“The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me,” Trump tweeted the morning of July 25, 2016.
News of an extensive hack broke the month before, in June 2016. Cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike, which the DNC called on to investigate, said Russian operatives had gained access to oppositional research on Trump as well as email and chat communications. Intelligence officials soon offered their agreement.
In the days before Trump’s comment, WikiLeaks released a cache of nearly 20,000 emails that at the time were believed to have been obtained in the hack. The messages revealed the Democratic Party’s inner turmoil surrounding Hillary Clinton ― who was about to cinch the nomination ― and Bernie Sanders.
The grand jury’s Friday indictment indicates that Russia was indeed involved.
The 11 charges come as part of Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election. He has so far brought criminal charges against 35 people, according to CNN.