The summit planned between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will go ahead as scheduled despite tension over Moscow’s alleged election meddling, the White House said, a few hours after 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted for hacking into the servers of senior Democrats, including its presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The two will meet for talks in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, on Monday, the BBC reported.
“It’s on,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Friday talking about the Trump-Putin summit.
For its part, Russia said it was looking forward to the meeting. “We consider Trump a negotiating partner,” the BBC quoted Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov as saying. “The state of bilateral relations is very bad. We have to start to set them right.”
Meanwhile, after the 12 Russian intelligence officers were charged by US with election interference, there were demands that the meeting between Trump and Putin is called off.
According to the indictment, the 12 are members of the GRU, a Russian Federation intelligence agency within the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian military.
These GRU officers engaged in a sustained effort to hack into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee, and the presidential campaign of Hillary, and released that information on the Internet under the names “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0” and through another entity, the indictment said.
According to the indictment, Russian intelligence officials in 2016, began spear phishing volunteers and employees of the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, including the campaign’s chairman.
Through that process, officials in this unit were able to steal the usernames and passwords for numerous individuals and use those credentials to steal email content and hack into other computers.
They also were able to hack into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) through these spearphishing techniques to steal emails and documents, covertly monitor the computer activity of dozens of employees, and implant hundreds of files of malicious computer code to steal passwords and maintain access to these networks.
To avoid detection, these Russian intelligence officials used false identities while using a network of computers located around the world, including the United States, paid for with cryptocurrency through mining bitcoin and other means intended to obscure the origin of the funds.
(With agency inputs)