So minutes before Rosenstein could announce the news, Williams told the world the still-embargoed information: special counsel Robert S. Mueller III had filed new indictments charging 12 Russian intelligence officials with conspiring to hack the 2016 Democratic National Convention computers.
That put Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in charge, and he promptly appointed former FBI Director Mueller as special counsel.
He also said the Russian defendants infiltrated computers at USA state boards of election and secretaries of state, plus software suppliers whose products help election officials verify voter registration data.
Rosenstein said he had briefed President Trump on the indictment earlier this week, adding that although Americans corresponded with the indicted Russians, in this case no Americans knowingly conspired with Russian intelligence officers.
Rosenstein said he had informed Trump about the charges.
All three worked out plea deals and have pledged to cooperate with the investigation.
No Americans are named as defendants in the indictment, just Russians allegedly working for the military intelligence agency known as the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU).
Mast's office denied that he was the candidate mentioned in the indictment who made contact with the Russian hackers to procure information. Trump, who is in the United Kingdom, has repeatedly dismissed the investigation a "witch hunt". Yet, ironically, the indictment confirms that there were no Americans involved in either the hacking or the dissemination of the Democrats' emails.
In August 2016, the indictment says, "the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, sent a reporter stolen documents pertaining to the Black Lives Matter movement, The reporter responded by discussing when to release the documents and offering to write an article about their release".
"If it is Russian Federation, which it probably is not, nobody knows who it is, but if it is Russian Federation, it's really bad for a different reason because it shows how little respect they have for our country when they would hack into a major party and get everything", Trump said.
"This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent", it said.
The dozen accused used spearphishing emails and malware in their cyberattacks to infiltrate networks of the Democratic Congressional Committee and Democratic National Campaign Committee to steal documents.
"There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in the alleged unlawful activity or knew they were communicating with Russian intelligence officers", Rosenstein said Friday while announcing the charges.
"I will absolutely, firmly ask the question, and hopefully we'll have a good relationship with Russian Federation", he told a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
And the operatives used an unnamed organization to spread the emails - apparently WikiLeaks, which published the Podesta emails in the late stages of the 2016 campaign, spawning thousands of stories.