Federal prosecutors have identified more than six Russian government officials involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee emails that were dumped online during the 2016 presidential election.
The Justice Department has assembled enough evidence to bring charges against the officials, likely next year, according to sources familiar with the investigation, reported the Wall Street Journal.
The case would provide the clearest picture yet of how the DNC computers were hacked, and attack that U.S. intelligence services have blamed on their Russian counterparts.
Another report, also published Thursday, by the Associated Press reveals a digital hit list that provides conclusive evidence that Russia used hackers to target critics and further Kremlin interest around the world.
President Donald Trump has denied any Russian involvement, and his allies have promoted conspiracy theories about the murder of a DNC staffer they claim may have turned over the emails.
The hacked emails played a central role in the election, and Trump promoted claims based on the stolen data that were then amplified by Russian “bots” on social media.
“It is irrefutable that Russia hacked the DNC and interfered in our election to help elect President Trump,” said DNC deputy communications director Adrienne Watson. “The Kremlin must be held accountable for its attack on our country. We need a president who puts our country first, not one who continues to empower Putin and threaten our national security by refusing to accept the truth.”
Federal prosecutors and federal agents based in Washington, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Philadelphia have been collaborating on the DNC investigation, the Journal reported.
That investigation is being conducted separately from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia during the election.