The same day Trump asked Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails, they tried to hack Clinton-affiliated emails

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

  • An indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office alleges Russian operatives hacked email accounts and servers affiliated with Hillary Clinton the same day Trump called on them to find her “missing” emails.
  • “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said on July 27, 2016, the same day hackers allegedly compromised a server used by Clinton’s personal office.
  • The special counsel brought criminal charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers for the hacking and interference in the 2016 election.

An indictment from the office of special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday alleged that the defendants hacked email accounts of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign the same day President Donald Trump urged them to find emails that had been deleted from her personal accounts.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said at a press conference on July 27, 2016, referring to emails deleted from Clinton’s personal email accounts. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Trump has subsequently said he was speaking in jest.

The Mueller indictment, released Friday, notes that Russian hackers had targeted the Clinton campaign beginning in March of 2016 by creating fake email accounts masking as campaign employees and sending “spearphishing” emails to real employees with links containing malware to give the hackers access to thousands of internal emails.

But section 22 of the document alleges that the 12 accused officers, referred to in the indictment as “the Conspirators,” stepped up their attacks to include Clinton-affiliated accounts and servers on the day Trump called on them to find her emails.

“For example, on or around July 27th, 2016, the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton campaign,” the indictment reads.

The defendants allegedly used spear-phishing for months to target the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the official Clinton campaign. The indictment says the July 27 hacking was the first time the Conspirators went after email accounts and servers belonging to Clinton’s office.

“Yet what Trump was publicly asking the Russians to find for were Clinton’s deleted *personal* emails,” wrote Vox political correspondent Andrew Prokop on Twitter. “The way this is written, including the mention of ‘after hours,’ definitely seems to suggest the 7/27 spear-phishing attempt was in response to Trump.”

The indictment does not charge any American citizens or members of the Trump campaign in connection to any of the alleged crimes.

The twelve defendants were charged on two counts of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, eight counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of conspiracy to launder money using cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin.