Did the Russians leak DNC emails to help Trump?


Politico reports: Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook suggested Sunday that internal DNC emails leaked this week were an effort from the Russians to help Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“What’s disturbing to us is that experts are telling us Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, and other experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually of helping Donald Trump,” Mook said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention.” [Continue reading…]

Indeed. It was on June 14 that the Washington Post reported on the Russian hacking of the computer network of the Democratic National Committee, so Wikileaks appears to have opted for what they regarded, or were advised, to be the most strategic moment to go public.

The only plausible rationale for leaking right now is to undermine the Clinton campaign and thereby boost the Trump campaign, as Mook claims.

But why would Russia want to hack the DNC? Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, who has reported in detail on the hacking breadcrumbs that lead back to Putin, wrote in June:

First of all, it would make sense just from an intelligence collection standpoint. That’s what spies do. But in this election cycle, there’s another reason: the Russian government would like to have Donald Trump as president.

“Look, the coming elections is of high priority for Russia as many people close to the Kremlin believe that Trump could help to lift the sanctions and ease the tensions between Russia and the US,” Andrei Soldatov, an independent journalist who has written extensively about Russia’s surveillance powers, told Motherboard in an email.

And hacking the DNC and embarrassing Hillary Clinton would help with that.

In coverage of the presidential campaign by Putin’s English-language propaganda outlet, RT, Russia’s preference for Trump has been evident for months. Back in May, Michael Crowley wrote:

In its early days, RT mostly offered a Kremlin-friendly diet of international coverage, feeding the Obama-bashing, America-in-decline narrative with C-list commentators who couldn’t get an airing elsewhere on cable TV. But that was before Donald Trump — whose unlikely mutual admiration for Russia’s strongman president has been one of the stranger subplots of this American political season.

The blustery billionaire has praised Putin as a strong leader, spoken of closer ties with Moscow and mused about whether NATO is obsolete. At the foreign policy speech Trump delivered in Washington on April 27, the Russian ambassador to the United States was sitting in the front row. As Trump has risen, RT has gotten much more interested in the U.S. presidential campaign. Tune in to Ed Schultz and his colleagues these days and you’ll find a presidential race featuring Hillary Clinton as a malevolent warmonger, Bernie Sanders as an insurgent hero — and Donald Trump as a foreign policy savant.

A network that up until now has found little to celebrate about America has finally settled on a candidate it can believe in. Vladimir Putin’s TV channel isn’t just covering the 2016 campaign: Increasingly, it’s choosing sides.

In early June in an ITV interview, Julian Assange was asked bluntly: “Would you prefer Trump to be president?” He didn’t respond directly, but instead innumerated the many reasons he fears a Clinton presidency.

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