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Under Scrutiny for Leaked Emails, Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Directs Attention Toward Russia

John Podesta at a Senate hearing in 2009. (Mark Warner / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Hillary Clinton’s team is in crisis-management mode after WikiLeaks’ release of emails involving her presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta. The campaign has appeared eager to draw attention away from the contents of Podesta’s leaked emails and to focus instead on allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been “engineering” hacks to benefit Republican nominee Donald Trump.

After WikiLeaks dropped its first batch of emails that came reportedly from Podesta’s server, Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon fired off tweets to WikiLeaks’ Twitter account, calling WikiLeaks a “propaganda arm of the Russian [government]” and accusing Julian Assange of “colluding with [the] Russian government to help Trump”:

In response to Fallon’s tweets, WikiLeaks denied working with Russia:

Fallon insisted that the bigger issue under consideration should be Trump’s alleged ties to Russia:

Glen Caplin, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, did not comment Monday on the legitimacy of Podesta’s leaked emails, instead denouncing the Trump campaign and the Russian government for the attack:

“It is absolutely disgraceful that the Trump campaign is cheering on a release today engineered by Vladimir Putin to interfere in this election, and this comes after Donald Trump encouraged more espionage over the summer and continued to deny the hack even happened at Sunday’s debate. The timing shows you that even Putin knows Trump had a bad weekend and a bad debate.”

During Sunday’s debate, Clinton also cited Russian hackers as WikiLeaks’ source.

But, you know, let’s talk about what’s really going on here, Martha [Raddatz], because our intelligence community just came out and said in the last few days that the Kremlin, meaning Putin and the Russian government, are directing the attacks, the hacking on American accounts to influence our election. And WikiLeaks is part of that, as are other sites where the Russians hack information. We don’t even know if it’s accurate information, and then they put it out. We have never in the history of our country been in a situation where an adversary, a foreign power, is working so hard to influence the outcome of the election, and believe, they’re not doing it to get me elected. They are doing it to try to influence the election for Donald Trump.

On the Trump campaign front, both the nominee and adviser Jason Miller have shared leaked Podesta emails. “She is unfit to run,” Trump tweeted Tuesday:

Clinton and her team have not overtly denied the authenticity of the emails. “Not one person has identified even a single email or document released by WikiLeaks of questionable authenticity—that includes all of the Clinton officials whose names are listed as their authors and recipients,” The Intercept reported.

WikiLeaks also pointed to the Clinton camp’s handling of the emails as proof of the validity of the leaked material. “Not even Clinton disputes the validity of our publications; in fact, she cited them in the laste (sic) debate,” the WikiLeaks account tweeted Tuesday, referring to Clinton’s response to a statement by moderator Martha Raddatz during the second presidential debate, held at Washington University in St. Louis.

“In one line in particular […] you, Sec. Clinton, purportedly say, ‘You need both a public and private position on certain issues,’ ” Raddatz said. Clinton confirmed her quote—found in excerpts of her paid speeches that WikiLeaks posted—saying, “Right. As I recall, that was something I said about Abraham Lincoln after having seen the wonderful Steven Spielberg movie called ‘Lincoln.’ ”

KiMi Robinson
Intern
KiMi Robinson joined the Truthdig team in September 2016 as an intern and recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in English. With bylines in online publications from The Hollywood Reporter…
KiMi Robinson

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