The US deputy attorney generals duration coincided with the president meeting the Queen
It was an extraordinary split-screen moment. On one back, president Donald Trump fulfilling the Queen at Windsor Castle and strolling past a ceremonial sentry of red-uniformed beefeaters. On the other, the US deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, was simultaneously indicting 12 Russian spies for hacking and divulging the emails of elderly Democrat during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
These recent prosecutions by the special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, were carefully crafted. Its timing seems distinctly mischievous. And it heaps distres on Trump ahead of his meeting on Monday in Helsinki with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, the three men to whom the GRU intelligence agency and its generals ultimately answer.
For two years, Trump has equivocated in the face of a simple question: did Moscow hack the US election in order to help him become president and to detriment Hillary Clinton? Despite evidence from US intelligence agencies, he has variously accused a “400-pound guy” sitting on a berth, advocated the answer is vaguely unknowable and said he could not be sure if “its been” Russia or China.
But Mueller’s latest prosecutions lay out the facts in granular detail. The document describes how groupings of profession Russian snoops working out of an anonymous classical building in center Moscow systematically hacked into the Democratic National Committee. It was a textbook ruse procedure, featuring bogus persons, concealed cryptocurrency pays and easy-to-do spear phishing.
During his meeting with Putin on Monday, Trump could challenge the extradition of the 12 GRU policemen, who, it is now known, include Viktor Borisovich Netyksho, the person in charge of the hacking activity be carried forward by two GRU units in Moscow. Putin will disclaim involvement.
If Trump does not ask, he will be clearly failing to stand up for US concerns in the face of an unprecedented cyberattack by a unfriendly foreign ability. If he does call for deportation, this signifies acknowledging that Mueller’s investigation into collusion between his expedition and Russia is not a “witch-hunt”. There are real alleged traitors. And, it is about to change, they work for Russian intelligence.
All the signs are that Trump will continue to deny Moscow’s meddling. Rosenstein said on Friday that he told the president a few days ago of the latest indictment. Trump appears to have ignored it. On Thursday, at the Nato summit in Brussels, he flattered Putin again. He even showed Russia’s leader had done good acts in Crimea, after annexing the territory in 2014, including building a connection and a submarine base.
The indictment develops farther intriguing questions as to how the US discovered the identities and precise grades of the 12 GRU detectives, one of them a major. A mole inside the GRU’s ” Aquarium” headquarters in Moscow- inspected in 2013 by Michael Flynn, Trump’s original picking for national protection consultant- cannot be ruled out. But it seems unlikely.
More probable is that US intelligence agencies carried out extensive counter-hacking and intercept measures of their own. And relied on input from America’s European allies including Britain- the same friends that Trump minimized on Thursday during his astonishing attack on Nato countries for what he sees as armed underspending.
According to reports, in the summer of 2014 the Dutch intelligence service hacked into one of the GRU’s undercover cells, controlling out of a university house near Red Square. The Netherlands gained better access to computers being used by the Cozy Bear group. They even sleuthed on the GRU outfit through closed-circuit TV cameras, witnessing their activities in real time.
Seemingly, the US intelligence community- regularly attacked by Trump as a malevolent action- is good at its chore. Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador in Moscow, described himself on Friday as “very impressed” by Mueller’s indictment. It presented” the prodigious capabilities of our intelligence community”, he tweeted, supposing the” Kremlin will take note “.
Putin will not give the GRU detectives to stand trial in America any time soon. But by asking for their extradition, Trump might mitigate the impression that he is beholden to Putin and that his safarus unit may even have colluded with the Kremlin on his track to the White House.