However, the indictment says that “The Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, also communicated with U.S. Personas about the release of stolen documents. On or about August 15, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, wrote to a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, ‘thank u for writing back … do u find anyt[h]ing interesting in the docs I posted?’”
"On or about August 17, 2016, the Conspirators added, 'please tell me if I can help u anyhow … it would be a great pleasure to me,''" according to the indictment. "On or about September 9, 2016, the Conspirators, again posing as Guccifer 2.0, referred to a stolen DCCC document posted online and asked the person, 'what do u think of the info on the turnout model for the democrats entire presidential campaign.' The person responded, '[p]retty standard."
That exchange matches one posted online by longtime Trump friend Roger Stone, who did not respond to requests for comment by CNBC.
In another case, the indictment said, "On or about August 15, 2016, the conspirators posing as Guccifer 2.0 receive a request for stolen documents from a candidate for U.S. Congress. The Conspirators responded as Guccifer 2.0 ... and sent the candidate stolen docs related to the candidate's opponent."
Rosenstein said that he briefed President Donald Trump about the case earlier in the week and that "the president is fully aware of today's actions by the department."
Trump, who was meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in England during Rosenstein's news conference announcing the new charges, has repeatedly called Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the election a "witch hunt."
The indictment does not accuse any American citizen of committing a crime, nor does it allege that that the conspiracy either "altered the vote count or changed any election result."
Rosenstein said that the defendants charged in the indictment worked for two units of Russia's main intelligence arm, the GRU.
"There was one unit that engaged in active cyber operations by stealing information and a different unit responsible for disseminating the stolen information," Rosenstein said.
He said the spies used two techniques to steal information. One was the trick known as "spearfishing," in which the target of the inflitration is tricked into replying to an email and disclosing their passwords and security information.
The indictment says the spearfishing attack on Clinton's personal office started for the first time on or about July 27, 2016.
That is the same day that Trump, during a public speech, said, "Russia, , if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing." That was a reference to the more than 30,000 emails deleted from Clinton's private email server by an employee of the company that managed that server that she used while secretary of State. Clinton's staff said the emails were of a personal nature, and not related to her work as secretary.
The other technique used was the implementation of malicious software onto computer networks, which allowed the conspirators to spy on users and capture their keystrokes, Rosenstein said.
"The defendants accessed the email accounts of volunteers and employees of a U.S. presidential campaign, including the campaign chairman, starting in March 2016," Rosenstein, referring to Clinton's campaign. "They also hacked into the computer networks of a congressional campaign committee and a national political committee. The defendants covertly monitored the computers, implanted hundreds of files containing malicious computer code, and stole emails and other documents."
He said the conspirators used a network of computers around the world, which they paid for with cryptocurrency to cover their tracks.
The defendants were identified as: Viktor Borisovich Netyksho, Boris Alekseyevich Antonov, Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Aleksey Viktorovich Lukashev, Sergey Aleksandrovich Morgachev, Nikolay Yuryevich Kozachek, Pavel Vyacheslavovich Yershov, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk, Aleksey Aleksandrovich Potemkin and Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev.
Mueller's office in a prepared statement said, that a "federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned an indictment today against 12 Russian nationals for their alleged roles in computer hacking conspiracies aimed at interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections."
"The indictment charges 11 of the defendants with conspiracy to commit computer crimes, eight counts of aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to launder money. Two defendants are charged with a separate conspiracy to commit computer crimes," Mueller's office said.
A White House spokeswoman, in a prepared statement said: "Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along."
But Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said, “The Russian government attacked our democracy in 2016 and the Democratic National Committee was a primary target of this attack. Those are the facts."
“Today’s indictment makes clear just how vast this operation was, adding details such as Russian intelligence officers' intrusion into the website of a state election board and theft of information related to approximately 500,000 voters," Perez said.
"This is not a witch hunt and it is certainly not a joke, as Donald Trump has desperately and incorrectly argued in the past. It’s long past time for him and his allies in the Republican Party to stop ignoring this urgent threat to our national security," he said.