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Russians targeted by Mueller includes source of 2016 Florida Democrats leaks

The leaks included a 2013 internal research report vetting Gwen Graham, who was then running for Congress.
Robert Mueller (Associated Press)
Robert Mueller (Associated Press)
Published Jul. 13, 2018
Updated Jul. 13, 2018

FBI special counsel Robert Mueller's latest round of indictments, against 12 Russian intelligence operatives, has a slew of Florida connections, including naming the source of the 2016 leaks against some Florida Democrats, including Gwen Graham.

The indictment also says that Florida elections officials were targets of the operatives, who worked for the Russian foreign intelligence service, the GRU.

They sent emails that contained malware to more than 100 "organizations and personnel involved in administering elections in numerous Florida counties," the indictment states.

The malware was embedded in Word documents that were contained in the emails. The indictment does not say whether the attacks were successful. In June, Gov. Rick Scott's administration received $19.2 million in election security money to be divvied up to the county elections supervisors.

Mueller's team alleges that the Russians did much of their work under the monicker of a fake hacker called Guccifer 2.0. "Guccifer" hacked into the Democratic National Committee in September 2016.

Among the documents was a 2013 internal research report vetting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham, who was then running for Congress. Parties and campaigns often do research on their own candidate, so that they can predict what their opponents might dig up.

When asked about it on Friday, Graham laughed about how little "dirt" was in the documents.

"My oppo research is barely boring," she said after a campaign event in Tallahassee. "It's really boring oppo research, so I don't think people were reading through it thinking, Oh, I got her there, I got her there. They're like, 'Wow, she's led a life that didn't result in much dirt.' But I did skip school once in the seventh grade."

Graham said she supported the work of the special counsel.

"I am supportive of the Mueller investigation, and I believe it should continue until we determine whether the president of the United States needs to be indicted as well," she said.

The indictment also appears to allude to Florida political operative Aaron Nevins, who reached out to Guccifer and asked for "any Florida based information," according to a Wall Street Journal report last year. Nevins also operated HelloFLA.com, a political gossip blog.

The report said that Nevins was given 2.5 gigabytes of information.

Mueller's indictment appears to mention the transaction, mentioning that in August, 2016, "the conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, transferred approximately 2.5 gigabytes of stolen data from the DCCC to a then-registered state lobbyist and online source of political news."

"The stolen data," the indictment says, "included donor records and personal identifying information for more than 2,000 Democratic donors."