It has been announced Wednesday by White House spokesman Josh Earnests that President-elect Donald Trump knew before Election Day that Russia was responsible for a series of hacks on Democrats during the campaign.
“There’s ample evidence that was known long before the election and in most cases long before October about the Trump campaign and Russia – everything from the Republican nominee himself calling on Russia to hack his opponent,” Earnest said. “It might be an indication that he was obviously aware and concluded, based on whatever facts or sources he had available to him, that Russia was involved and their involvement was having a negative impact on his opponent’s campaign.”
Earnest further added that might have been a reason Trump “was encouraging them to keep doing it,” in a speech Trump gave in July where he asked the Russia to find and disclose emails deleted from Hillary Clinton’s private server, a request he called later ‘sarcastic’.
There are major news outlets that covered emails stolen from John Podesta, campaign manager for Clinton and intelligence sources who believe Moscow was behind the breach. Last week the CIA released a report stating the hacks were Russian interference in the election with the intention of helping elect Trump.
“It was obvious to those who were covering the race that the hack-and-leak strategy that had been operationalized was not being equally applied to the two parties and to the two campaigns,” Earnest said Wednesday, the 2nd straight day he addressed Trump’s comments about hacks. “There’s one side that was bearing the brunt of that strategy and another side that was clearly benefiting from it.”
Tuesday, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid from Nevada said these hacks were as bad as the Watergate scandal and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The former campaign manager for Trump, Kellyanne Conway, told Fox News on Monday night that Trump took the CIA report seriously but believes that many of the calls for further investigation was a political move to delegitimize Trump’s win.
“This smells like politics, plain and simple,” Conway said. “We in the Trump presidency do not want foreign governments interfering in our elections. That’s very clear. We don’t want intelligence interfering in our politics. But we also certainly do not want what we have now, which is politics interfering in our intelligence.”
TRUMP ON TWITTER
Donald Trump also earlier in the week tweeted that “unless you catch hackers in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking,” making the suggestion he wasn’t certain that the CIA report was accurate in placing the blame on Russia.
HIGH LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE
U.S. intelligence officials now believe with “a high level of confidence” that the Russian President Putin became very personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
Two senior officials having direct access to the information say new intelligence does show that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.
The objectives of Putin’s were multifaceted – a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What started as a “vendetta” against Clinton turned into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to “split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn’t depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore,” the official said.