White House press secretary Josh Earnest stated Wednesday that Donald Trump not only knew about but also encouraged hacks orchestrated by the Russian government during the 2016 election cycle.
“There is ample evidence that it was known long before the election, and in most cases long before October, by the Trump campaign and Russia,” Earnest explained. “Everything from the Republican nominee himself calling on Russia to hack his opponent.”
“It might be an indication that he was obviously aware and concluded based on whatever facts or sources he had available to him that Russia was involved, and that they’re involvement was having a negative impact on his opponent’s campaign,” he continued. “That’s why he was encouraging them to keep doing it.”
Earnest also noted that Trump referred “to the Russian president as a strong leader,” and installed a “campaign chair with extensive, lucrative personal financial ties to the Kremlin, and it was obvious to those covering the race that the hack-and-leak strategy that they operationalized was not being equally applied to the two parties and the two campaigns.”
[dcquiz] “There’s one side that was bearing the brunt of that strategy and another side that was clearly benefiting from it.”
Earnest finally conceded that there might still be some debate in the intelligence community about the “intent” behind the Russian hacks, “but there was certainly no doubt about the effect.”