Hilary Clinton admits to media leak on Trump-Russia alleged link
According to her former campaign manager, Hillary Clinton personally signed off on a plan in 2016 to quietly sell to the media the now-debunked claim of the Trump-Russia link.
According to her former campaign manager, Hillary Clinton personally signed off on a plan in 2016 to quietly sell to the media the now-debunked claim that computer systems at Donald Trump's firm had a hidden communications link with a Russian bank.
Robby Mook, a witness in the trial of a former Clinton campaign lawyer accused of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), said on Friday that he and others at the campaign "weren't totally confident" in the server data's validity, but they released it to reporters nevertheless a few months before the election.
Mook recalled that "all I remember is that she agreed with it," adding that "she thought she made the right decision."
The alleged server link between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank in Russia was eventually discredited by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Former campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann is on trial for allegedly lying to the FBI in September 2016 when he said he wasn't representing any clients.
Perkins Coie, the campaign's law office, obtained the server hypothesis from Fusion GPS, a tiny Washington-based research firm. Fusion offered the idea and underlying data at the request of a well-known cybersecurity expert, Robert Joffe, who claimed to have mined publicly available communications data to find the supposed relationship.
Mook admitted that he didn't learn about Fusion's participation until long after the election, but he believed the hypothesis since it came from seasoned specialists. He also testified that neither he nor anyone else on the campaign instructed Sussmann to give the material to the FBI and that the primary goal was to tell the media.
Evidence of a possible hidden backchannel between Trump and Russia “was obviously incredibly alarming and concerning,” according to Mook. If accurate, “that’s probably something the American people should know when they vote,” he added. Mook stated that he expected reporters would check the hypothesis before publishing it.
According to Mook, Trump's activities at the time prompted concerns, including him making “very favorable statements about Vladimir Putin." Mook also mentioned Trump's suggestion that the US depart NATO and his extensive business relationships in Russia.
It is not uncommon for presidential campaigns to undertake research on opponents in order to provide negative material to the press. However, the discovery of Clinton's participation in disseminating a conspiracy theory that her campaign did not have faith in could strengthen Trump's allegations of a "witch hunt" throughout his administration.
Trump has repeatedly openly urged Russia to "find" Clinton's missing emails.
Mook's evidence contradicts the government's contention that Sussmann tipped off the FBI on Clinton's behalf. Earlier in the trial, several witnesses said the campaign had no desire to submit the material to the FBI.
According to Mook, the campaign did not have faith in the FBI because the former director James Comey "broke protocol" by discussing the FBI's investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server.
“Two or three of the most damaging days of the campaign were caused by James Comey, not Donald Trump,” Mook stated. “We didn’t want to have anything to do with the organization at that time or engage them in that way."