Hillary Clinton's campaign Saturday compared the hacking into John Podesta's emails and those from the Democratic National Committee as a new Watergate scandal while accusing GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump as being deeply involved in the plot, according to an essay posted on Medium Saturday.
"We’re witnessing another effort to steal private campaign documents in order to influence an election," Clinton campaign spokesman Glen Caplin writes in the essay. “Only this time, instead of filing cabinets, it’s people’s emails they’re breaking into…and a foreign government is behind it.”
The essay's title, "What Did Trump Know, and When Did He Know It?" plays off one of the most famous lines from the Senate's Watergate investigation four decades ago, when then-Sen. Howard Baker asked "what did the president know and when did he know it."
Caplin continues that there is no question that Russia has been behind alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona after both the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence released a statement charging the nation with directing the attacks.
Further, he writes, the FBI suspects Russian intelligence agents were behind hacking Podesta's emails.
Also, according to Caplin, Trump was "reportedly briefed in mid-August," well before the first debate, about Russia's efforts, but he instead "blamed a 400-lb. Hacker."
"In each case, Trump had reportedly already received intelligence briefings about Russia’s role in the hacks, but he apparently chose to ignore the evidence and defend Vladimir Putin," said Caplin.
Caplin also pointed to Trump's friend and adviser Roger Stone, noting that he appeared on Alex Jones' "InfoWars" show on August 13 and said he was in communication with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Stone also predicted a "Podesta-gate" scandal on his September 3 radio show, Caplin writes, and weeks later commented he had a "backchannel communication with Assange through an intermediary” and that a "mutual friend" assured him Assange had a "treasure trove" of information about the Clintons.
Further, Stone tweeted about an imminent WikiLeaks dump on October 1 and October 3, and just days later, on October 7, the Podesta email leaks began.
Caplin also made a link between Trump's former foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, quoting Yahoo! News about Page allegedly meeting with a top Putin aide in charge of intelligence efforts on the election.
He also spoke in Moscow in July in an address criticizing U.S. policy.
Trump's camp has said Page has no role in the campaign, but Caplin called that a lie, noting Trump told The Washington Post during a meeting with its editorial board that Page was a "counter-terrorism expert" who was a member of his foreign policy team.
"Why is Trump protecting Putin by lying about Russia’s role in these hacks," Caplin said. "What did his campaign know and when did they know it? Why won’t he condemn this? With less than a month until Election Day, these are the questions we need answered — and soon."
Caplin's article is not the first time the Clinton campaign has compared the WikiLeaks releases to Watergate, as Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon also compared the two in a tweet last week, reports Politico.
In addition, last week, Podesta accused Trump operatives of working with Russia to derail Clinton's campaign and to interfere in the upcoming election, also pointing to Stone's connections with Assange.
Stone has denied that accusation, and Trump has denied colluding with Russia or being involved in a devastating hack into the Democratic National Committee just before the party's national convention.
About 10,000 emails have been released, with the latest dump coming on Friday. The Clinton camp has refused to confirm or deny whether any of the documents is authentic.
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