- The special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers last July on hacking and conspiracy charges related to the 2016 DNC hack and the subsequent dissemination of stolen emails via the Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0, the Russia-linked website DCLeaks, and the radical pro-transparency platform WikiLeaks.
- The charging document alleged that beginning in March 2016, the conspirators "used a variety of means to hack the email accounts" of people working on the Hillary Clinton campaign.
- In April, the defendants hacked into the computer networks of the DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), according to the allegations.
Once they breached the network, the indictment said, the hackers "covertly monitored the computers of dozens of DCCC and DNC employees, implanting hundreds of files containing malicious computer code ... and stole emails and other documents from the DCCC and DNC."
In June, the Russians allegedly "staged and released" tens of thousands of hacked documents using Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks.
The indictment said the hackers also used Guccifer 2.0 to pass stolen emails along to WikiLeaks.
- The charging document did not directly implicate any Americans. But it said that in August 2016, Guccifer 2.0 opened a channel of communication with "a person who was in regular contact with senior members" of the Trump campaign.
- The longtime GOP strategist and informal Trump adviser Roger Stone is known to have communicated with Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks during the election. He has also publicly stated that he believes he is the unnamed American referred to in Mueller's indictment.
Additional emails between Stone and the far-right conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, which are in Mueller's possession, shed light on the two men's murky ties to WikiLeaks. Three days after the first document dump, the two men discussed how to get "the pending [WikiLeaks] emails," and Corsi also later touched base with Stone to tell him about an upcoming dump.
"Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps," Corsi reportedly wrote to Stone on August 8, according to NBC News. "One shortly after I'm back. 2nd in Oct ... Impact planned to be very damaging."
"Time to let more than [Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta] to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC," Corsi reportedly added, referring to Clinton. "That appears to be the game hackers are now about."
A little over two weeks later, on August 21, Stone tweeted that Podesta would "soon" be targeted.
On October 7, WikiLeaks published a damaging batch of emails belonging to Podesta.
Trump heaped praise on WikiLeaks on the campaign trail. His son, Donald Trump Jr., is also known to have been in contact with WikiLeaks via Twitter during the election, according to The Atlantic.
While media reports indicate that Trump, Stone, Trump Jr., and other members of the Trump campaign were interested in the WikiLeaks dumps, there is no evidence corroborating Steele's claim that the hacking operation was carried out "with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team."