Former Clinton aides warn of Russian influence after Macron leak

Former Clinton aides warn of Russian influence after Macron leak
© Greg Nash

Former campaign aides to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump furor stokes fears of unrest Bloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close MORE are sounding off on the release of a trove of emails from French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron's campaign, warning the leak could signal another attempt by Russia to influence Western elections.

"Putin is waging war against Western democracies and our President is on the wrong side," former Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon wrote Friday evening on Twitter. 

"For those who thought Russia was dialing back.. Macron's French presidential campaign emails leaked online," former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook tweeted.

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The former Clinton aides weighed in as news emerged that a user known as EMLEAKS posted nearly nine gigabytes of emails and attachments from Macron's campaign. The leak came two days before the second round of voting in France's presidential election.

The campaign for Macron, an independent center-left candidate squaring off against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in Sunday's election, said Friday that it had been the victim of a "massive and co-ordinated hack."

Macron was endorsed by former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Senate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election In a season of bad ideas, one stands out MORE earlier this week. Trump has not formally endorsed any candidate in the race, with an aide saying Friday he'd work with whoever is elected, but Trump last month praised Le Pen as the "strongest" candidate. 

While it is unclear who is behind the leak, the security firm TrendMicro said in a report last week that Macron's campaign had been targeted by the same Russian hackers responsible for leaking Democratic National Committee emails last year amid the U.S. campaign.

"This will happen here again to both Dems & GOP," Clinton's former rapid response director Zac Petkanas tweeted. "Anyone supporting the Western alliance against the Kremlin's dictatorial imperial designs."

Clinton has herself blamed leaks in the final weeks of her campaign for her election loss in November, when the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks released hacked emails from Clinton's campaign CEO John Podesta.

"I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off – and the evidence for that intervening event is, I think, compelling," she told CNN's Christiane Amanpour at a Women for Women International event in New York on Tuesday.

The U.S. intelligence community concluded in a report made public in January that the Kremlin had carried out a hacking and influence campaign aimed at tilting the election in Trump's favor.

The FBI and two congressional panels are probing how Russia sought to influence the campaign, as well as alleged ties between members of the Trump campaign and Moscow. 

Trump and his associates have repeatedly denied any collusion or improper communications with Russian officials, and the president himself has cast doubt on the U.S. intelligence community's conclusions, suggesting that they are politically motivated and there's no way of knowing exactly whom is responsible for the hacks. 

Trump reaffirmed that position in an interview that aired last Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

"Knowing something about hacking, if you don't catch a hacker, OK, in the act, it's very hard to say who did the hacking," he said. "With that being said, I'll go along with Russia. Could've been China, could've been a lot of different groups."