• The Latest: Indictment says Kremlin behind US election hacks

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    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election (all times local):

    9 p.m.

    A grand jury indictment alleges that the Russian government was behind a sweeping conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.

    It's the first time Moscow has been directly implicated in meddling in the presidential election.

    The grand jury indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers on charges they hacked into Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic Party, releasing tens of thousands of stolen and politically damaging communications.

    The indictment comes days before President Donald Trump is scheduled to sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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    4:20 p.m.

    Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona says President Donald Trump must be willing to confront Russia's Vladimir Putin during their summit Monday in Helsinki.

    McCain says that if Trump is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the summit should not take place

    McCain's statement comes after the Justice Department announced charges Friday against 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking into Democratic accounts during the 2016 presidential election.

    McCain says the revelations from the Justice Department add to a body of evidence that confirms a Russian plot to "attack the 2016 election, sow chaos and dissention among the American electorate, and undermine faith in our democracy."

    In response to the indictment, Democrats overwhelmingly called for Trump not to meet with Putin. The press release from McCain's office adds a rare GOP name to that list.

    The Kremlin has denied that the Russian state interfered in the U.S. election.

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    3:45 p.m.

    Russia's Foreign Ministry is denouncing the United States' indictment of 12 alleged military intelligence agents accused of hacking into Democratic accounts in the 2016 US elections.

    The ministry says "obviously, the purpose of this is to spoil the atmosphere" before Monday's summit of President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump.

    The ministry's statement blames "influential political forces of the United States, who oppose the normalization of relations between our countries and have been manufacturing blatant slander for two years."

    It says: "It is regrettable that the circulation of false information in Washington has become the norm, and that criminal cases are brought for obvious political reasons."

    The Kremlin has denied that the Russian state interfered in the U.S. election.

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    2:15 p.m.

    The White House is stressing that the new indictment against 12 Russian military intelligence officers contains no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the Trump campaign or that the hacking the Russians are accused of conducting affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

    Spokeswoman Lindsay Walters adds in her statement that "this is consistent with what we have been saying all along."

    In Friday's indictment, the Justice Department accuses the Russian officers of hacking into Democratic accounts during the 2016 election campaign and releasing the stolen information in the months before Americans headed to the polls.

    The indictment comes as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the presidential election.

    It also comes three days before Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Finland. The Kremlin denies that the Russian state has interfered in the U.S. elections.

    Rosenstein said the investigation is continuing.

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    1:45 p.m.

    The Kremlin is reaffirming its denial of meddling in the U.S. election.

    President Vladimir Putin's foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov reaffirmed that "the Russian state has never interfered and has no intention of interfering in U.S. elections."

    Ushakov spoke Friday, just hours before the U.S. Justice Department announced charges against 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking into Democratic accounts during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

    He said the Kremlin believes there are "no objective reasons" for the current tensions, and that Moscow and Washington must join efforts to tackle global challenges such as international terrorism.

    Putin and President Donald Trump are meeting Monday in Helsinki.

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    1:40 p.m.

    National Intelligence Director Dan Coats says the warning lights about cyber threats to U.S. national security are "blinking red" and the threats are not just around election time.

    Coats spoke Friday after the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking into Democratic email accounts during the 2016 U.S. presidential election and releasing stolen information in the months before Americans headed to the polls.

    The Kremlin denies that the Russian state has interfered in the U.S. elections.

    Coats said U.S. officials are detecting cyber threats targeting energy, water and other infrastructure, aviation networks and manufacturing facilities. He says the threats are coming from Russia, Iran, China and North Korea as well as criminal networks and independent hackers.

    He was speaking at the Hudson Institute think tank.

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    1:35 p.m.

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says the timing of indictments against 12 Russian intelligence officers for interfering in the U.S. election only reflects the natural course of the investigation.

    Rosenstein announced the charges Friday as President Donald Trump was meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle and just days before the president is scheduled to hold a summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

    Rosenstein said: "The timing is a function of the collection of the facts, the evidence, the law and a determination that it was sufficient to present the indictment at this time."

    He said he briefed the president earlier this week on the indictments, but he declined to describe the president's reaction.

    The Kremlin denies that the Russian state has interfered in the U.S. elections.

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    1:30 p.m.

    The top Democrat in the Senate is calling on President Donald Trump to cancel his coming meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in the wake of new charges that 12 Russian intelligence officers hacked into Democratic email accounts during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

    Intelligence agencies have said the interference was aimed at helping Trump's presidential campaign and harming the election bid of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says the indictments are "further proof of what everyone but the president seems to understand: President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win."

    Schumer says Trump should cancel his meeting with Putin until Russia takes steps to prove it won't interfere in future elections.

    The Kremlin denies that the Russian state has interfered in the U.S. elections.

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    12:30 p.m.

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says that Russian intelligence agents stole information on 500,000 U.S. voters after hacking a state U.S. election board. The allegation was part of new charges Rosenstein announced against 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses during the 2016 presidential election.

    The charges are part of the ongoing special counsel probe into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    The Kremlin denies that the Russian state has interfered in the U.S. elections.

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    12:20 p.m.

    The Justice Department has announced charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses during the 2016 presidential election.

    The indictments were announced Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as part of the ongoing special counsel probe into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    The Russians are accused of hacking into the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

    Before Friday, 20 people and three companies had been charged in the Mueller investigation. That includes four former Trump campaign and White House aides and 13 Russians accused of participating in a hidden but powerful social media campaign to sway American public opinion in the 2016 election.

    The Kremlin denies that the Russian state has interfered in the U.S. elections.

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