Purported hackers stole US evidence to discredit Mueller probe: filing

Purported hackers stole US evidence to discredit Mueller probe: filing

Washington's attempts to blame anonymous Russian hackers once again for getting access to the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe database for discrediting his investigation of Russia's alleged intervention in the USA 2016 presidential election are obviously political, because specific names and facts are needed to back up such charges, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Thursday.

But Mueller said in his filing that doing so "unreasonably risks the national security interests of the United States".

Some file folder names and folder structure on the webpage matched what the Mueller team had produced.

The sensitive material includes "information describing the government's investigative techniques, identities of cooperating individuals and companies, and personal identifying information related to USA persons who were victims of identity theft".

A lawyer for Concord didn't return a phone message.

A total of 13 Russians were also indicted along with Concord in the case, and as As CNN's Shimon Prokupecz also flagged in a tweet, the sensitive information involves "identifies uncharged individuals and entities that the government believes are continuing to engage in operations that interfere with lawful US government functions like those activities charged in the indictment".

One of those officers is businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, an associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin and known in Russia as "Putin's cook".

Prosecutors say the vast majority of the files released by the Twitter account were actually "junk material that has nothing to do with the case", and were included along with real files from the investigation in an attempt to discredit it.

The special counsel said that Concord should not be given such sensitive material because of alleged misuse in October by an unknown party of "non-sensitive" materials already in Concord's possession as a result of the normal discovery process that litigants use to share information during a court case. You can view all the files Mueller had about the IRA and Russian collusion.

However, five of the six former Trump advisers have pleaded guilty to the charges brought to them by Robert Mueller and are now working with the Special Counsel's investigation.

Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney-general, said this week he had been fully briefed on Mr Mueller's inquiry, and that the final report was coming soon.

The Kremlin denies it meddled in the elections and President Trump has called the inquiry a political witch hunt. "To the extent Concord faces challenges in mounting its defense, it is because Prigozhin refuses to come to the United States to review the sensitive discovery", prosecutors wrote.

If it were Russians who spread the evidence online, they also likely won't be punished, prosecutors said.

He has pleaded not guilty to seven criminal charges, including making five false statements to investigators, obstructing the investigation and witness tampering.

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