Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign manager says the hackers who leaked almost 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee's servers could be in league with rival Republican nominee Donald Trump.
John Podesta made the accusation on July 26, the second day of the Democratic National Convention, during a breakfast with political reporters.
"We know pretty well now that the attacks came from" Russia, Podesta told the journalists.
Then he suggested the unnamed hackers were either doing the bidding of the Trump campaign, or interfering with the U.S. election on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump "certainly has a bromance with Mr. Putin, so I don’t know,” Podesta said, stopping short of outright accusing the Republican of working with Russian criminal hackers.
Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort called the accusations "crazy" during a CNN political program, reports The New York Times.
Putin has not met Trump and "has scrupulously avoided endorsing either candidate in the United States campaign," The New York Times noted. Media organizations in Russia have favorably covered Trump, and generally paint Clinton as an antagonist who would worsen relations between the U.S. and Russia.
“They don’t really expect much from a Clinton presidency other than continued confrontation, while they view a Trump presidency as a window for improved relations,” Vladimir Frolov, the foreign affairs columnist for the online magazine Slon.ru, told The New York Times.
The leaked emails threatened to unravel arrangements between the Clinton camp and primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders, who for months complained the Democratic National Committee was actively working against his campaign while promoting Clinton's candidacy, told NBC's Chuck Todd on July 24 that he wasn't surprised by the revelations in the newly revealed emails.
The emails, released by WikiLeaks, show DNC officials -- including party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- mocking Sanders and his campaign, strategizing on how to discredit the Vermont senator, and even talking about casting him as an atheist to hurt his standing with primary voters in religious states. They also show how DNC officials leaned heavily on media outlets -- including NBC, MSNBC and Politico -- to cover the Clinton campaign favorably.
WikiLeaks has said it will release additional documents in a series it calls "Hillary Leaks." Despite that, Podesta said he's confident the campaign's "robust security" has not been compromised again.