The chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign has suggested that Russia hacked his emails to help Donald Trump - and implied that the tycoon's campaign may have colluded in the "criminal hack".
Thousands of emails sent or received by John Podesta, one of Mrs Clinton's most senior advisers, were published this week by WikiLeaks, causing serious headaches for the campaign less than a month before election day.
Mr Podesta now claims that the FBI is investigating Russia's alleged role and hinted at possible co-ordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
He said it was a "reasonable conclusion" that the Republican campaign and Roger Stone, a Trump confidante, had received "advanced warning" about the hack.
Mr Stone, a self-professed expert in political dirty tricks, has said he was in contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and warned repeatedly about "devastating" future leaks.
"Trust me, it will soon be Podesta's time in the barrel," he said in August.
Mr Podesta claims the hack exposes Russian efforts to tilt the balance of the US election toward Mr Trump.
"We can't be certain why the Russian government seems to be trying to interfere ... it may just be policy, it may just be that they found somebody that adopted lock, stock and barrel the Putin foreign policy," he said, adding that Mr Trump's alleged business ties to Russia were a possible motivation.
"I've been involved in politics for nearly five decades, and this definitely is the first campaign that I've been involved with in which I've had to tangle with Russian Intelligence agencies," he said.
US intelligence agencies last week accused Russia of leaking emails from the Democratic National Committee.
However, Mr Trump has said it remains to be seen whether Russia is involved in any hacking, adding: "Maybe there is no hacking."
Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, yesterday called claims that Russia was interfering in the US election "ridiculous".
Meanwhile, US president Barack Obama said that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's comments on a 2005 videotape about groping women would disqualify him from even a job at a convenience store.
Speaking at a campaign rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Mr Obama said that the choice was clear in the November 8 election even before the tape was leaked last week showing Mr Trump speaking crudely about women.
"Now you find a situation in which the guy says stuff that nobody would find tolerable if they were applying for a job at 7-Eleven," Mr Obama told the crowd, referring to the convenience store chain.
During Sunday's presidential debate, the Republican candidate apologised for the comments, but then dismissed them as "locker-room talk".
Mr Obama also criticised some Republicans who condemned the remarks but are still backing the New York businessman.
"The fact that now you've got people saying: 'We strongly disagree, we really disapprove ... but we're still endorsing him.' They still think he should be president, that doesn't make sense to me," Mr Obama said.
Earlier, White House spokesman Josh Earnest condemned the "repugnant remarks" in the recording, saying those actions would constitute sexual assault.
Last night, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights said the world would be at risk if Mr Trump becomes president.
Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein said Trump's views on minorities and his talk of authorising torture in interrogations was "deeply unsettling and disturbing". (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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