Monday 20 August 2018

'Russian email hacks linked to Trump-Putin bromance,' says campaign chief

Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters
Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

Jennifer Epstein in Philadelphia

Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman suggested that Russia might be attempting to interfere with the US presidential election, leaning into the relationship that he believes Donald Trump has with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"He certainly has a bromance with Mr Putin," John Podesta said at a Bloomberg Politics breakfast in Philadelphia on the second day of the Democratic National Convention, when asked if there are closer ties between the two men than is publicly known.

The publishing by Wikileaks last week of some contents of the Democratic National Committee's email archives knocked the party off its equilibrium just as it prepared to begin its convention this week. Some messages showed DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her team leaning toward Clinton during the primary race when they were expected to stay neutral.

The FBI is investigating the incident, which is believed to have been orchestrated by Russian hackers, something Podesta also said. "We know pretty well now that the attacks came from Russia," he said.

It would be reaching into new territory for Russia to attempt to interfere with the presidential race, Podesta said.

"I think that the Russians do have a history of interfering with democratic elections in Europe," he said. "I think it would be unprecedented in the United States."

Podesta also suggested it's possible that Republican National Committee (RNC)Chairman Reince Priebus has some intelligence about the hack of the DNC and, perhaps, other Democratic groups. 

"Maybe he has inside information," Podesta said, in response to a question from NBC's Andrea Mitchell, who said that Priebus had told her he expected more leaks on Clinton during the presidential race. "It's interesting he's so confident about that," he said.

The RNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Podesta declined to call Trump a racist, but said some of the positions he's taken have been rooted in racism.

"Saying he's a racist sort of implies that I know him or that anyone knows him," Podesta said. "Saying a judge can't fairly decide a case, a judge born in Indiana, because his parents were born in Mexico, that's racist," he said, adding Trump's proposed Muslim ban and comments on other Mexican immigrants to the list of racist things Trump has said.

"If you look at that you can't call it" anything other than racism, Podesta said. "He's running a campaign of racial division and it's unbecoming of a major national candidate. "

Irish Independent

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