WASHINGTON — Was Russia listening, after all?
In a July 27, 2016, speech, then-candidate Donald Trump called on Russian hackers to find emails from Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent in the U.S. presidential campaign.
"Russia, if you're listening," Trump said, "I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing."
Hours later, the Main Intelligence Directorate in Moscow appeared to heed the call — targeting Clinton's personal office and hitting more than 70 other Clinton campaign accounts. That's according to a grand jury indictment Friday charging 12 Russian military intelligence officers with hacking into the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party as part of a sweeping conspiracy by the Kremlin to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election.
The indictment says July 27 was the first time Clinton's personal office was targeted.
The attempt to penetrate Clinton's campaign began March 10, 2016, and hit a significant success on March 19 when the Russian intelligence officers busted open the email account of John Podesta, Clinton's campaign chairman, an AP investigation last year found.
They "phished" intensively and repetitively. Throughout at least March and April there were repeated efforts to break into about 120 Democratic National Committee, Clinton and left-leaning activists' accounts across the country.
Then they brought Clinton's personal office into their scope, the indictment says — the very evening Trump appeared to beckon Russians to do just that.