US President Barack Obama has said it is possible that Russia was trying to interfere in the US presidential election, after a leak of Democratic National Committee emails that have been attributed to Russian hackers by experts.
“What we do know is that the Russians hack our systems. Not just government systems, but private systems. But you know, what the motives were in terms of the leaks, all that — I can’t say directly,” Obama told NBC News in an interview.
“What I do know is that Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin,” he said as the interviewer promoted that it looks like he is suggesting that Putin might be motivated to prefer Trump in the White House.
“Well– I am basing this on what Mr Trump himself has said. And I think that Trump’s gotten pretty favourable coverage back in Russia,” Obama said in response to a question.
Asked if the Russians were trying to influence the US elections, Obama replied: “Anything is possible.”
Obama’s comments come in the wake of release of emails by WikiLeaks which were obtained illegally by hacking into the server of the Democratic National Committee.
These emails indicated that the party leadership supported Clinton in the primaries against her rival Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign acknowledged more emails could be released in the coming weeks, the timing of which would be scheduled to inflict most damage to the Democratic presidential nominee.
“The WikiLeaks leak was obviously designed to hurt our convention. I don’t think they’re done. That’s how they operate,” Jennifer Palmieri, communications director for Hillary for America, told reporters at a news conference.
“We can’t know, but it’s part of the reason that we wanted people to understand our belief that the Russians are behind this. People need to understand — when these leaks happen — what they’re designed to do,” she said.
In an interview to CNN, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said they plan to release more emails in the coming weeks.
“What we have right now is the Hillary Clinton campaign using a speculative allegation about hacks that have occurred in the past to try and divert attention from our emails, another separate issue that WikiLeaks has published,” he said.
“I think this raises a very serious question, which is that the natural instincts of Hillary Clinton and the people around her, that when confronted with a serious domestic political scandal, that she tries to blame the Russians, blame the Chinese, etc,” he said.
“If she does that when she’s in government, that’s a political, managerial style that can lead to conflict,” Assange said.