[Ed. – None of the Russians who might be charged are extraditable, so this would in theory be for signal-sending, deterrence, etc., rather than leveraging such indictments for testimony, or getting convictions and punishment. A key caution, in my view, is that proving the Russians in question were even involved would be no slam-dunk. In fact, I’m not convinced Mueller would do this if there were any realistic prospect of having to make a case in court. The defense attorneys could assemble a formidable array of counter-evidence.]
Special counsel Robert Mueller is assembling a case for criminal charges against Russians who carried out the hacking and leaking of private information designed to hurt Democrats in the 2016 election, multiple current and former government officials familiar with the matter tell NBC News.
Much like the indictment Mueller filed last month charging a different group of Russians in a social media trolling and illegal-ad-buying scheme, the possible new charges are expected to rely heavily on secret intelligence gathered by the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), several of the officials say.
Mueller’s consideration of charges accusing Russians in the hacking case has not been reported previously. Sources say he has long had sufficient evidence to make a case, but strategic issues could dictate the timing. Potential charges include violations of statutes on conspiracy, election law as well as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.