Will Russia hand over the 12 intelligence officers indicted for allegedly interfering in the 2016 presidential election? Signs point to no.
Top Russian Senator told @nbcnews Russia won’t extradite 12 military intel officers accused of hacking the Democratic party. Said extradition would be against Russian law. That they can cooperate with US officials “only if they want to”, refused to confirm identies of the 12.
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) July 15, 2018
A federal grand jury indicted 12 Russians on Friday for allegedly hacking computer systems of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Campaign Committee, and the Hillary Clinton campaign, then releasing the information. Kremlin officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have denied that they were involved.
Thirteen Russian nationals and three companies were previously indicted for interfering in the election, but this is the first time government officials there were charged in Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s ongoing probe.
Asked if he would discuss extradition with Putin, Trump said that he “might.”
“I hadn’t thought of that,” he said in an interview published Sunday by CBS. “But I certainly, I’ll be asking about it.”
He is scheduled to meet with Putin on Monday in Helsinki, Finland.
Trump then shifted blame, saying that this happened during the Obama administration, and that the DNC should be ashamed for letting themselves get hacked in the first place. In the past, Trump has pointed to denials by Kremlin officials, and says he wants a good relationship with the country.
Meanwhile, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, a Trump nominee, said at a speech Friday that among state actors, Russia is the most aggressive in launching cyberattacks on U.S. systems.
“These actions are persistent, they are pervasive, and they are meant to undermine America’s democracy on a daily basis regardless of whether it is election time or not,” he said.
[Image via MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images]