Speaking today on the DNC email leaks by WikiLeaks, President Obama said it was “possible” that the emails were hacked by the Russian government to try to help Republican nominee Donald Trump in the general direction, terming Trump’s candidacy “scary.”
Investigations into the hack have claimed conceivable Russian “links” to the hacker, though this is well short of saying that the Russian government did it, let alone that the Russian government did it on behalf of the Trump campaign. Obama cited the usual argument that Trump has been complimentary to Putin, and that Russian media has been “favorable” to his campaign.
Politically, this appears to be where the Democrats are going, starting with Trump’s less hawkish pro-NATO stance and trying to present this as Trump being “Russia’s candidate,” and a sign of overt Russian attempts to install Trump as America’s president.
That US officials would even countenance this as a possibility is likely only the case because it sounds like something America would do. The US regularly meddles in elections of both allies and enemies, and seems to assume Russia would be willing to do the same. Russia’s history of involvement in elections outside of their immediate sphere of influence, however, is extremely limited, and the idea that they are “behind” the Trump candidacy is preposterous.
Russian officials are saying as much, mocking the claims as “horror stories” dreamed up by politicians, and insisting that Russia has no real interest in trying to influence the US election. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attributed the claims to US politicians trying to “cynically exploit fear for electoral purposes.”