National Security

Mueller indictments: Congressional candidate asked Russian operatives for info on opponent

A U.S. congressional candidate contacted Russian operatives in 2016 and successfully obtained damaging stolen information on their opponent.

The indictment of 12 Russian intelligence operatives filed Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller stated that “a candidate for the U.S. Congress” who was not named in the filing contacted Russian operatives posing as the hacker “Guccifer 2.0” and requested information stolen from the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) email server.

“The conspirators responded using the Guccifer 2.0 persona and sent the candidate stolen documents related to the candidate’s opponent,” the filing reads.

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The court filing does not name the candidate involved in the information transaction or their party affiliation.

On Aug. 15, 2016, the date Mueller’s indictment suggests the request was made “on or about,” the Guccifer 2.0 blog posted a stolen Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) memo.

The memo points out possible vulnerabilities in the campaign of Annette Taddeo (D), who at the time was facing former Rep. Joe Garcia (D) in a heated Florida Democratic primary to challenge incumbent Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R) in the 2016 election cycle. 

Parts of the stolen document specifically note Taddeo’s fundraising difficulties and praise Garcia’s name recognition. Garcia won the primary later that month and lost to Curbelo in the general election that November.

Friday’s indictments were the latest in the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election cycle and brought the total number of people indicted under the investigation up to 32.

None of the indictments so far have accused the Trump campaign of collusion with Russia, though several former members of the campaign have been brought up on unrelated charges.

Tags Carlos Curbelo Indictments Joe Garcia Robert Mueller Russia Investigation Russian election interference Special counsel
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