President Donald Trump said Thursday that someone “other” than the Russian government might have hacked the Democrats in 2016. He didn’t provide any evidence to back up the claim, which isn’t that surprising.
The last time Trump claimed he was hunting for these “other” culprits, he couldn’t find them.
Trump already promised twice to release information that would undermine the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Kremlin-backed hackers hit the Democratic National Committee and members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“I know a lot about hacking,” Trump told reporters on Dec. 31. “And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.”
Trump said he would release that secret information within a week. Then he tweeted it would be more like three months.
“Russia says nothing exists. Probably released by ‘Intelligence’ even knowing there is no proof, and never will be. My people will have a full report on hacking within 90 days!”
More than 170 days later, there is still no report.
While Trump’s answers on Russian culpability for hacking have fluctuated (it could’ve been Moscow, it could’ve been China or a "guy sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds), they’ve been consistent in never blaming Vladimir Putin and his government.
In fact, Trump has spoken about Russian hacking in almost verbatim terms as Putin.
“Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks!” he tweeted in February.
“There is no specific evidence, no facts, just assumptions, allegations and conclusions based on those allegations, nothing more,” Putin told NBC news in June, adding it’s “internal political bickering.”
Ironically, Putin suggested that “patriotically minded” Russian hackers not working for Moscow could’ve been behind the hacks — something that Trump hasn’t floated.