The indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller targets 12 Russian intelligence officers for engaging in a sustained effort to hackDemocrats and aides to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. So far, Mueller's team has indicted 32 people, including members of a Russian company that blanketed social media with fake news stories and senior members of the Trump campaign.
"The internet allows foreign adversaries to attack Americans in new and unexpected ways", Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein said. Brad Ashford, who lost his 2016 race for re-election to Republican Don Bacon, revealed in a Facebook post Friday that "Russian agents" had hacked his campaign emails.
Hackers also breached a software vendor used to verify voter registration information.
Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's emails were also hacked.
The indictment listed an example from July 27, 2016, saying: "The Conspirators attempted after hours to spearfish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton's personal office". It says the information acquired by "spearfishing" and other hacking techniques was released via online fronts DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0.
"The defendants covertly monitored the computers, implanted hundreds of files containing malicious computer code, and stole emails and other documents."More news: Maryam Nawaz Sharif says goodbye to her kids ahead of her arrest
More news: Trump says 'up to the people' whether to back Prime Minister May
More news: China's Xiaomi: Smart phones, no smart IPO
Rosenstein said at the time that the Russians had waged "information warfare" against the U.S. during the 2016 campaign, with the aim of "spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general".
Five people have pleaded guilty, including former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn, who was sacked as national security adviser after he admitted lying about his contacts with Russians on the campaign trail. Trump has called the Mueller investigation a "witch hunt".
Eleven of today's defendants are charged with conspiring to hack into computers, steal documents, and release documents in an effort to interfere with the election.
If the involvement of the GRU officers in the hacking effort is proved, it will shatter the Kremlin denials of the Russian state's involvement in the U.S. elections.
It was the most detailed United States accusation yet that Russian Federation meddled in the election with the eventual aim of trying to boost Republican Trump's campaign. He said Russia's GRU military intelligence service was behind online entities that disseminated and promoted the documents under the names Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks.
Friday's indictment comes as Rosenstein faces increased scrutiny from President Trump's backers on Capitol Hill.
Stone said he believes the reference to that "U.S. person" in the indictment referred to him.
Mr Rosenstein said the defendants corresponded with several Americans during the alleged conspiracy, but added there is no allegation that any U.S. citizen committed a crime.