Mueller’s New Indictment Says Russia Hacked Clinton Emails When Trump Asked Them To

The president has said his July 2016 remarks were a joke, but Russian intelligence might have not have seen it that way.

Donald Trump speaks on Wednesday, July 27, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.Evan Vucci/AP Photo

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On July 27, 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump asked Moscow for help targeting Hillary Clinton.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said during a Florida press conference, referring to emails that Clinton had deleted from the personal server she used while serving as Secretary of State. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Maybe Russia was listening. In an indictment issued Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller disclosed that Russian intelligence officers first targeted a key Clinton email provider at that time of Trump’s request. As the indictment explains:

“On or about July 27, 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 also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton campaign.”

The indictment doesn’t say whether the particular hack was undertaken by the Russians in response to Trump’s statement. Indeed, the indictment—which more broadly outlines the campaign by a dozen Russian intelligence officers to hack and disseminate Democrats’ emails in 2016—notes Russia began targeting Clinton campaign volunteers and employees at least as early as March 2016.

But the efforts on or around July 27, according to prosecutors, marked the first time the hackers targeted private email accounts of campaign staff. That effort succeeded. The Russian hackers gained access to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s Gmail account and disseminated the stolen emails through WikiLeaks in October 2016.

Trump and his defenders have said his July 27 statement was a joke. Friday’s indictment offers a new suggestion that Russia might have not have seen it that way.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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