White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday that President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE knew before Election Day that Russia was behind a series of hacks on Democrats during the campaign.

"There’s ample evidence that was known long before the election and in most cases long before October about the Trump campaign and Russia — everything from the Republican nominee himself calling on Russia to hack his opponent," Earnest said. "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 their involvement was having a negative impact on his opponent’s campaign."

Earnest added that might have been a reason Trump "was encouraging them to keep doing it," in reference to a speech Trump gave in July in which he asked Russia to reveal to find and publicly disclose emails deleted from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWoman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Trump: CNN, MSNBC 'got scammed' into covering Russian-organized rally Pennsylvania Democrats set to win big with new district map MORE's private server, a request he later called sarcastic.

Major news outlets widely covered emails stolen from John Podesta, Clinton's campaign manager, during the campaign, as well as intelligence sources who believed Moscow was behind the breach. Last week the CIA released a report saying the hacks were Russian interference interference in the election with the intention of helping elect Trump. 


"It was obvious to those who were covering the race that the hack-and-leak strategy that had been operationalized was not being equally applied to the two parties and to the two campaigns," Earnest said Wednesday, the second straight day he addressed Trump's comments on the hacks. "There’s one side that was bearing the brunt of that strategy and another side that was clearly benefiting from it."

On Tuesday, Senate Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWATCH: There is no Trump-Russia collusion and the media should stop pushing this The demise of debate in Congress ‘North by Northwest,’ the Carter Page remake MORE (Nev.) said the hacks were as bad as the Watergate scandal and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Trump's former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, told Fox News on Monday night that Trump took the CIA report seriously, but felt many of the calls for an investigation were a political move to delegitimize Trump's win. 

"This smells like politics, plain and simple," Conway said. "We in the Trump presidency do not want foreign governments interfering in our elections. That's very clear. We don't want intelligence interfering in our politics. But we also certainly do not want what we have now, which is politics interfering in our intelligence."

Trump also tweeted earlier in the week that "unless you catch hackers in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking," suggesting he wasn't sure the CIA report was accurate in placing the blame on Russia.