Clinton campaign to accuse Trump of being in cahoots with Putin in email hacks
Donald Trump is no stranger to conspiracy theories. From "rigged" elections, "rigged" debates, and "powerful forces" working to defeat his campaign. Trump's paranoia is both a subject of mirth and concern.
But Hillary Clinton is about to show that she can ratchet up the paranoia as good as anyone. Her campaign is about to unveil a line of attack that would be the granddaddy of all conspiracy theories in this campaign.
She is about to accuse Trump of colluding with Russia to hack into Democratic emails in a Watergate style effort to steal documents.
"What did Trump know, and when did he know it?” the campaign asks in an essay that it will post on Medium, Politico reported Saturday.
“We’re witnessing another effort to steal private campaign documents in order to influence an election,” Clinton campaign spokesman Glen Caplin wrote in an early version of the post shared with Politico.
“Only this time, instead of filing cabinets, it’s people’s emails they’re breaking into…and a foreign government is behind it.”
Clinton and her advisers are ramping up attacks on WikiLeaks and the Russian government over the damaging email hacks.
The campaign is lashing out at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and the media for not treating the breach as a national security threat.
Clinton's team is framing the email hack as a cyberattack by foreign adversaries with ties to terror groups.
In a conference call Friday with the Clinton campaign's top national security advisers and reporters, the advisers described the hacks as unprecedented interference in the U.S. election that threatens the nation’s sovereignty, and warned there would be “consequences” for the hackers and potentially the “Russian state actors” supporting them.In the Medium post obtained by Politico, Caplin calls on Trump to condemn the hacks and "denounce Russian efforts to intervene in our election."
“Why is Trump protecting Putin by lying about Russia’s role in these hacks? What did his campaign know and when did they know it? Why won’t he condemn this?" he reportedly asks in the post.
"With less than a month until Election Day, these are the questions we need answered — and soon.”
Even for the Clinton campaign, this is pretty lame. Evoking the memory of Watergate with the old "what did he know and when did he know it" nonsense serves only to highlight how desperate the Clinton campaign is to get beyond the email scandals by changing the subject.
It won't work simply because it is not credible that Donald Trump is a cats paw for Russia and Putin. And just for the record, Trump isn't the only one dubious of the charge that the Russian government is behind the hacks. Liberal Glenn Greenwald has also expressed skepticism that the Russians are to blame. And Edward Snowden claims that the NSA could easily determine who was hacking our political organizations.
It may very well be true that the Russian government is behind the email hacks. But Clinton has gone off the rails if she thinks accusing Trump of working with the Russians will elicit anything but laughter from most of us.