A congressional candidate requested and received documents allegedly stolen from Democratic Party entities by Russian intelligence operatives during the 2016 election, a federal indictment filed Friday alleged.
The indictment brought by special counsel Robert Mueller alleges that the unidentified candidate made the electronic request on Aug. 15, 2016, and in return received “stolen documents related to the candidate’s opponent.”
This gob-smacking detail was one of many in the 29-page indictment, which alleged that the Russian military intelligence agency or GRU engaged in “large-scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” The 12 Russians indicted allegedly hacked the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and email accounts of Hillary Clinton campaign officials, and publicly disseminated the stolen information. They concealed their tracks by inventing fake personas including “Guccifer 2.0,” a rogue Romanian hacker who claimed to be behind the hacks, prosecutors alleged.
Mueller charged the defendants with conspiracy to commit an offense against the U.S., aggravated identity theft and other charges.
As the indictment makes clear, the stolen information was eagerly received by some U.S. citizens.
The congressional candidate reached out to “Guccifer 2.0” asking for leaks about the candidate’s opponent.
The indictment also mentions “Guccifer 2.0” sending documents to a “then-registered state lobbyist and online source of political news” and to a reporter in August of 2016.
The lobbyist received 2.5 gigabytes of data stolen from the DCCC, according to the indictment, including “donor records and personal identifying information for more than 2,0000 Democratic donors.”
The details about this interaction align with the account of Aaron Nevins, a Florida-based Republican political operative who admitted to asking “Guccifer 2.0” for any stolen documents relevant to his state. Nevins told the Wall Street Journal that he received details about the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote strategy in Florida and other swing state, and posted it on his blog, HelloFLA.com, under a pseudonym.
“Guccifer 2.0” subsequently flagged the blog post to Trump ally Roger Stone, who said he did not share the stolen data with anyone.
The indictment notes that on August 15, “Guccifer 2.0” wrote to someone “who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump” thanking him “for writing back” and asking if the documents were interesting.
Two days later, the Russians asked if they could help the individual, saying “it would be a great pleasure to me.”
“Guccifer 2.0” followed up on September 9, referring to a stolen document about the Democrats’ turnout model and asking for the person’s opinion. The individual replied, “[p]retty standard.”
The reporter, who is also unidentified in the indictment, apparently received documents about the Black Lives Matter movement.
The individual “responded by discussing when to release the documents and offering to write an article about their release,” according to Mueller’s team.