PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — A top Donald Trump campaign adviser dismissed allegations from Hillary Clinton’s campaign that Russian hackers were behind the DNC email leak, charging it shows how “desperate” the campaign is heading into the Democratic National Convention.
“They’re pretty desperate pretty quickly,” Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort said at a press conference in Philadelphia on Sunday.
“It’s a far reach, obviously. To lead their convention with that tells me they really are trying to move away from what the issues are in this campaign.”
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook made the suggestion on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, tying it to “changes to the Republican platform to make it more pro-Russian” — a reference to a Washington Post report revealing the Trump campaign worked successfully to remove a commitment to giving weapons to anti-Russian forces in Ukraine from the GOP platform last week.
"I don't think it's coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention here, and I think that's disturbing," he said.
A number of media reports have outlined Russia’s potential involvement in the DNC hacking & email release, which exploded this weekend with the release of a trove of incriminating emails that ultimately resulted in the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. And questions surrounding the Trump campaign’s coziness with Russian leadership have grown in recent weeks, fueled by Trump’s frequent praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Manfort’s own ties to a pro-Russian Ukranian president.
Manafort downplayed the possibility that Russia had any involvement with the leaks, saying “obviously we don’t know who’s behind the leaks,” but tied them to Clinton’s use of a private email server, suggesting she "certainly created greater risk” than was created by the DNC hack.