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Trump-Putin Talks Will Go Ahead Despite Russian Intelligence Officers Indictment

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The Helsinki summit between President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin will go ahead as planned despite tension over Russia’s alleged election meddling, the White House says.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will meet for talks in the Finnish capital on July 16.

“It’s on,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

However, there are calls for the meeting to be canceled after the US charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with election interference on July 13.

For its part, Russia said it was looking forward to the meeting.

Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov said: “We consider Trump a negotiating partner. The state of bilateral relations is very bad. We have to start to set them right.”

The announcement that the Russians had been charged with hacking Democratic officials during the 2016 presidential election sparked a heated war of words between Washington and Moscow.

Russia’s foreign ministry said the claims were a “heap of conspiracy schemes” intended to “damage the atmosphere” before July 16 summit.

It said there was no evidence linking any of the dozen officials to hacking or military intelligence.

US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein insisted that “the goal of the conspirators was to have an impact on the election”.

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The 11-count indictment names the Russians defendants, alleging they began cyber-attacks in March 2016 on the email accounts of staff for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The Russians are accused of using keystroke reading software to spy on the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and hack into the party’s computers.


Rod Rosenstein said the conspirators used fictitious online personas, including “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0”, to release thousands of stolen emails.

They are also accused of stealing the data of half a million voters from a state election board website.

During a joint news conference with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, President Trump said he would “absolutely” ask Vladimir Putin about alleged election meddling.

Top Democrats have urged President Trump to cancel the planned summit altogether following the indictment.

Republican Senator John McCain said the summit “should not move forward” unless the president “is prepared to hold Putin accountable”.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating US intelligence findings that Russians conspired to sway the 2016 election in Donald Trump’s favor.

As of July 13, the inquiry has indicted 32 people – mostly Russian nationals in absentia – as well as three companies and four former Trump advisers.

None of the charges allege Trump advisers colluded with Russia to interfere with the presidential campaign.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser, have pleaded guilty to making false statements about their contacts with Russians.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were charged with money laundering relating to their political consultancy work in Ukraine.