(CBS) — A grand jury in the special counsel probe has returned the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking during the 2016 election — including for hacking emails of the Democratic National Committee, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Friday. The Justice Department says the 12 defendants are all members of the Russian intelligence arm GRU, and attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
They allegedly did this, Rosenstein said, by spear phishing volunteers and employees of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and were able to steal usernames and passwords, eventually hacking into the networks of the Democratic National Campaign Committee and Democratic National Committee. The GRU, Rosenstein said, created and controlled the groups D.C. Leaks and Guccifer 2.0., which in 2016, posted thousands of emails from Democratic party officials.
In another related allegation, the indictment claims Russian officers hacked a state election board’s website and stole the information of roughly 500,000 voters. The indictment also alleges the GRU officers hacked into computers belonging to a company that supplies software used to verify voter information, and targeted local and state election offices.
Rosenstein made it clear that no Americans are accused of any wrongdoing.
“There is no allegation in this indictment that Americans knew they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers,” said Rosenstein, who also noted there is no evidence the alleged hacking had any impact on the election results.
The indictment does mention that Russians provided opposition research to a congressional candidate, although that individual is not named.
“[P]osing as Guccifer 2.0, received a request for stoeln documents from a candidate for the U.S. Congress. The Conspirators responded using the Guccifer 2.0 persona and sent the candidate stolen documents related to the candidate’s opponent,” the indictment reads.
The charges come just days before President Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. Rosenstein said he briefed Mr. Trump on the indictment earlier this week.
“I’ll allow president to speak for himself,” Rosenstein said, asked for Mr. Trump’s response to the news. “Obviously it’s Important for the president to know what information we’ve uncovered because he’s got to make very important decisions for the country. So he needs to understand what evidence we have of foreign election interference.”
When a reporter in London asked Mr. Trump if he would bring up election meddling with Putin, Mr. Trump said he would.
The charges come after Mueller’s investigation has already led to the indictment of 13 Russian nationals who were accused of manipulating social media.
In the face of alleged foreign interference, Rosenstein urged unity and patriotism against foreign interference.
“The partisan warfare fueled by modern technology does not fairly reflect the grace, dignity and unity of the American people,” Rosenstein said.
© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.