White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday that President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test 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 ClintonTrump touts economic agenda in battleground Ohio The Memo: Campaigns gird for rush of early voting Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat 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. 

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"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 ReidMcConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill Kamala Harris to young Black women at conference: 'I want you to be ambitious' Obama calls filibuster 'Jim Crow relic,' backs new Voting Rights Act bill 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.