Clinton campaign does damage control after email hack


(CBS News) – Following another dump of his personal emails, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, is claiming that Russian hackers targeted his account to try and influence the presidential election — and he suggested that those hackers tipped off a Trump advisor.

CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes reports that Podesta on Tuesday went step-by-step through all the contact Donald Trump and his campaign aides have had with Russian actors or with Wikileaks. He argued that it’s all circumstantial evidence pointing so some kind of secret understanding between Trump and the highest reaches of the Russian government.

Podesta said the theft of 10 years worth of emails from his gmail account is now being investigated as part of the FBI’s larger probe into hacks at the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The U.S. intelligence community said on Friday that it is “confident” those hacks were directed by the “Russian government.”

“Russian interference in this election and their apparent attempt to influence it on behalf of Mr. Trump is, I think, of — should be of utmost concern to all Americans,” Podesta told reporters from the Clinton campaign plane.

Podesta noted that long-time Trump confidant Roger Stone appeared to have advance notice of the hack, when Stone tweeted back in August: “Trust me, it will soon be the Podesta’s time in the barrel.”

Stone also recently told Florida Republicans that he was in touch with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

The emails are a revealing and sometimes embarrassing window into the workings of a major campaign.

In one, now-interim DNC chair Donna Brazile (who was working for CNN) appears to slip the campaign a “question” Clinton was to be asked at a CNN town hall during her primary contest against Bernie Sanders.

In another, Starbucks CEO and major Clinton donor Howard Schultz called the campaign “stale” and lacking the “transparency that the American people…will need to trust and ultimately elect” Clinton.

Trump, for his part, has brushed off accusations that his words and his proposals seem to favor Putin.

“She doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking,” Trump said duringSunday’s presidential debate town hall.

He also claimed “I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia.”

In North Carolina, President Obama said Trump sounded much like a Russian dictator when he threatened to jail Clinton if he won.

“I frankly never thought I’d see the day when we had a major party candidate who would be promoting those kinds of notions,” the president said at a Clinton campaign event.

Podesta said he doesn’t know why Trump would be sympathetic to Russia, but he suggested that it might be his business dealings or his fascination with Vladimir Putin. He added that he expects the leaks to soon follow the pattern of other Russian-led hacks, where they begin by releasing real documents at first — and then start releasing fake ones.

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