Why Russians indicted for hacking may never see the inside of a U.S. courtroom

NEW YORK — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Friday that 12 Russians have been indicted by a grand jury in the special counsel investigation for alleged hacking during the 2016 election. That includes allegations of hacking emails of the Democratic National Committee.

But, according to CBS News Washington correspondent Paula Reid, it’s highly unlikely any of the defendants will ever be extradited to the U.S. to face charges.

“We’ve seen that consistently, not just Russia but also with China and other foreign actors, they’ve come out here on this stage, they’ve announced to great fanfare that they’re indicting people for hacking and interfering either with our economy or in this case our elections, but none of them have ever been brought here to face trial,” Reid said.  

CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman said that might not be as important as proving Russian interference.

“What it does show is that it’s not only when we have people in the administration, but certainly also people in parts of the press who have called all of this a witch hunt, that there was really no Russian interference, that at least in terms of an allegation, you have substantial allegations here against people really directly involved in the Russian government,” Klieman said.

According to the indictment, the defendants, who are all members of the Russian intelligence arm GRU, attempted to interfere with the 2016 election by spear phishing volunteers and employees working for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

This all comes just before President Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Rosenstein said he briefed the president in advance. “Obviously it’s important for the president to know what information we’ve uncovered because he’s got to make very important decisions for the country,” Rosenstein said. “So he needs to understand what evidence we have of foreign election interference.”

Mr. Trump has repeatedly called the special counsel’s investigation a “witch hunt,” including hours before the DOJ announcement during a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Meanwhile, the White House has focused on Rosenstein’s statement that the indictment doesn’t include any Americans.

“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,” White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said.

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