Officials with the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton say the recent hack of the Democratic National Committee’s emails, which were then released to Wikileaks and revealed some embarrassing things about the party, was the work of the Russian government.
Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, said that Friday’s release of emails was part of a larger effort by Russian President Vladimir Putin to weaken Clinton’s chances for election and boost her rival, Republican nominee Donald J. Trump.
During his campaign Trump has praised Putin, saying he admired the Russian president and his leadership style. Some of Trump’s proposals regarding NATO and other foreign policy objectives would be more accommodating to Russian interests in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.
In some of the hacked, leaked emails, DNC staffers seem to suggest that because Clinton’s chief rival for nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is both Jewish and an atheist, his nomination as leader of the party would weaken its appeal in some so-called ‘Bible Belt’ states. Sanders and those who support him have said that under the leadership of soon-to-be-ex-DNC chief Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the party supported Clinton all along and ensured that the nomination process was both undermined and pre-determined.
On Saturday, Wasserman-Schultz announced that she would be stepping down from her post after the Democratic Convention, being held in Philadelphia this week.
“What’s disturbing to us is that experts are telling us Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these e-mails, and other experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually of helping Donald Trump,” Mook said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention.”
Mook did not provide evidence that the Russians were trying to help Trump when pressed by CNN’s Jake Tapper to back up his charges, instead falling back on what “experts” were saying.
“This isn’t my assertion — there are a number of experts that are asserting this,” Mook said. “I think we need to get to the bottom of these facts. But that’s what experts are telling us. Experts are telling us it is, in fact, the Russians who hacked these emails.”
Politico notes that last month it was revealed that Russian government hackers had broken into the DNC computer servers, which contained opposition research on Trump.
And Defense One is reporting that a pair of cybersecurity firms have identified hacking of the DNC and U.S. government systems as having been done by Russian operatives. U.S. government officials, the news site noted, believe so as well.
We have also reported that Russia hacked the DNC because Putin is trying to influence the U.S. election.