Members of the Russian government could be charged by the US Justice Department in the election meddling investigation that is gaining steam under special counsel Robert Mueller, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said on November 2, citing unnamed sources.
Allegedly six Russian government officials were identified as involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computers and swiping sensitive information that became public during the 2016 presidential election. They could be officially charged in 2018. Naming the specific Russian officials allegedly involved in meddling in the US election and those who are suspected of colluding with Trump's team, would be the most solid accusations thus far. However, the WSJ says that actual arrests of suspects is highly unlikely.
Russian-US relations have been going from bad to worse since the US Congress pushed President Donald Trump to sign a new package of sanctions against Russia in August. The latest sanction guidelines by the US State Department suggested that the new sanction package could target Russian miliary and security complexes.
Some of the companies of the Russian defence complex were already on the previous list for sanctions following Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and the "anti-hacking" sanctions introduced by President Barak Obama shortly before the end of his term. The new sanctions are set to take effect on January 29, 2018, in particular by toughening the visa regime and limiting financial market activities. The new guidance provided by the State Department specifies that only "significant transactions" with the entities on the list, to be determined on a case-by-case basis, could trigger sanctions.
On October 26 Kommersant daily reported that the Russian government is rushing in a new specialised financing body for the military industry, one that would be shielded from sanctions. Reportedly it would have to manage the RUB23 trillion armament program without putting major local banks such as Sberbank, VTB and state development bank Vneshekonombank under threat.