National Security

Top Dems push FBI to investigate Trump campaign role in DNC hack

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The ranking members of four House committees have asked the FBI to investigate whether officials from Donald Trump’s campaign had any role in recent cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

{mosads}The FBI is investigating the attacks, which are widely believed to be the work of Russian intelligence groups. Some suspect that the operation was a bid to tilt the presidential election in the Republican nominee’s favor.

The top Democrats from the Oversight, Judiciary, Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security committees — Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), respectively — pressed FBI Director James Comey to look into those suspicions on Tuesday.

“Serious questions have been raised about overt and covert actions by Trump campaign officials on behalf of Russian interests,” they wrote. “It is critical for the American public to know whether those actions may have directly caused or indirectly motivated attacks against Democratic institutions and our fundamental election process.”

Specifically, the lawmakers asked that the agency “assess whether connections between Trump campaign officials and Russian interests may have contributed to these attacks in order to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.”

The five-page letter lists a number of press reports detailing an apparent relationship between Trump aides and Russia, including foreign policy adviser Carter Page’s reported dealings with Russian energy firm Gazprom and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s ties to a pro-Russian official in Ukraine.

Democrats are rallying behind this characterization of the hack and subsequent leak of the DNC documents on the eve of the Democratic National Convention as a pro-Trump effort.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday sent a separate letter to the FBI asking the agency to investigate any threat the Russian government poses to the U.S. presidential election.

“I have recently become concerned that the threat of the Russian government tampering in our presidential election is more extensive than widely known and may include the intent to falsify official election results,” Reid wrote in a letter addressed to Comey.

The evidence linking Trump’s campaign to Russia continues to grow, Reid wrote.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign has also characterized the leak as a bid by Russia to help Trump, citing the suspicious timing of the email dump. Documents unveiled in the leak, which appeared to show Democratic Party leaders trying to boost Clinton’s candidacy over that of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), forced resignations from senior party officials, including Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention here, and I think that’s disturbing,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said at the time.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the hack. And both Trump and WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization that published the stolen emails, have pushed back on speculation that the leak was a conspiracy to boost Trump’s chances in November.

“The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because [Russian President Vladimir] Putin likes me,” Trump tweeted in July.

“Clinton campaign pushing lame conspiracy smear that we are Russian agents,” WikiLeaks tweeted. “Get it right.”

Separate reports on Monday also revealed that the FBI found evidence that foreign hackers — believed to be Russian — had broken into two state election databases.

Tags Bernie Sanders Debbie Wasserman Schultz Democratic National Committee email leak Donald Trump Donald Trump Harry Reid Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton WikiLeaks

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