Clinton accuses Putin of hacking, leaking DNC emails

Printed from:

( – Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said Sunday that Russia’s intelligence service, controlled by President Vladimir Putin, hacked Democratic National Committee emails and “arranged for a lot of those emails to be released.”

In a Fox News Sunday interview, Clinton was asked about the emails and suspicions of Russian involvement. Released by Wikileaks on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, some of the 20,000 leaked emails purportedly showed that DNC officials backed Clinton’s presidential campaign at the expense of her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders.

U.S. officials speaking unattributably have said Moscow was responsible, and President Obama, asked on Tuesday whether the Russians were trying to influence the U.S. election, replied, “anything’s possible.”

Clinton did not equivocate, however.

“Here’s what I think we know,” she told host Chris Wallace. “We know that Russian intelligence services, which is part of the Russian government which is under the firm control of Vladimir Putin, hacked into the DNC.”

“And we know that they arranged for a lot of those emails to be released,” she added.

Wallace asked her whether she thought Putin wanted to see Republican nominee Donald Trump beat her at the polls in November.

“We know that Donald Trump has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin, to support Putin,” Clinton said, “whether it’s saying that NATO wouldn’t come to the rescue of allies if they were invaded; talking about removing sanctions from Russian officials after they were imposed by the United States and Europe together, because of Russia’s aggressiveness in Crimea and Ukraine; his praise for Putin which is I think quite remarkable.”

“Are you suggesting that Putin would rather see him as president than you?” Wallace asked.

“Well, I’m not going to jump to that conclusion, but I think laying out the facts raises issues about Russian interference in our elections, in our democracy,” Clinton said. “We would not tolerate that from any other country, particularly one with whom we have adversarial positions.”

“And for Trump to both encourage that and to praise Putin despite what appears to be a deliberate effort to try to affect the election, I think raises national security issues,” she continued.

During a press conference in Florida on Wednesday, Trump voiced the hope that Russia would release the texts of more than 30,000 emails which Clinton says she deleted – on the basis they were personal and not work-related – after using a private server while secretary of state.

Wallace played an excerpt from those comments, and noted that Trump said later he was being sarcastic.

Clinton characterized the comments as “encouragement that the Russians hack into American email accounts.”

She said those remarks, Trump’s praise for Putin, and his support for many Russian foreign policy positions, lead to the conclusion that “he is not temperamentally fit to be president and commander-in-chief.”

Wikileaks has not confirmed or denied that Russia was the source of the DNC email leak.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday called the allegations “totally absurd” and bordering on “stupidity,” attributing the claims to “Russophobia in the U.S.”

Russia has long been suspected of state-sponsored hacking.

A year ago, U.S. media cited military officials as saying they suspected Russian hackers had broken into an unclassified email system used by some 4,000 military and civilian employees of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff.

The previous October hackers, also believed to be Russian government-linked,hacked into unclassified White House computer networks.

Russia has demonstrated sympathy for the leaking of sensitive material when there is political advantage to be accrued.  In 2013, Putin granted asylum to Edward Snowden after the former NSA contractor exposed U.S. surveillance operations around the world.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at the time praised Putin’s decision, which caused a serious rift in Russia-U.S. relations.

Wikileaks and Assange enjoy a lot of favorable coverage in pro-Kremlin Russian media.

— Written by Patrick Goodenough