Republican Donald Trump suggested in Sunday's presidential debate Russia might not be behind the hacking of Democratic Party members' emails that were released by WikiLeaks.
"Any time anything wrong happens they like to say, 'The Russians! The Russians!'" Trump said. "She doesn't know that it's the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking. And the reason they blame Russia is that they are trying to tarnish me with Russia."
But The Hill noted the statement does not jibe with the federal government's assessment – and with many of Trump's own campaign advisers.
On Friday, a federal investigation was released that pinned the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on the Russian government. The same day, WikiLeaks released more documents from John Podesta, currently Clinton's campaign chairman.
But, The Hill noted, Trump's seemingly off-the-cuff statement also goes against his advisers, such as retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and against other Republicans such as Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul of Texas.
Republican Sen. Corey Gardner of Colorado on Friday said he plans to call for "aggressive sanctions" against Russia for the attack, which both sides of the political aisle have blamed as an attempt by Russia to influence the American political process.
"Russia's interference with American democracy is a direct threat to our political process," Gardner said Friday.
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