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Eye On Candidates
July 27, 2016

Tying Trump to Putin

The recent release of e-mails from several top Democratic National Committee staffers has taken a toll on the party, including the high-profile resignation of its chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. In what may turn out to be a clever bit of political jiu jitsu, the Democrats are seeking to portray the e-mail release as an effort by the Russian strongman to aid Republican nominee Donald Trump, as The Washington Post reports:

Democrats have found a brand new running mate for Donald Trump: Vladimir Putin

Hillary Clinton's campaign manager alleged Sunday that Russia might be behind the leaking of thousands of Democratic National Committee emails in hopes of helping elect Donald Trump as president. It was a serious allegation -- an "extraordinary charge," in the words of The Washington Post's Tom Hamburger and Ellen Nakashima....

There is indeed evidence and plenty of speculation that Russia could be behind the attack, but it's also not totally clear at this early juncture. And yet, there was Mook connecting the dots.

And in making that extraordinary charge, Mook and the Clinton campaign just got some high-profile help -- very high-profile.

First, President Obama suggested very much the same thing in an interview with NBC News on Tuesday evening.

“What we do know is that the Russians hack our systems, not just government systems but private systems,” Obama said. "What the motives were in terms of the leaks, all that — I can’t say directly. What I do know is that Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Vladi­mir Putin.”

Obama's comments were followed by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright saying the following at last night's session of the Democratic National Convention: "The truth is that a Trump victory in November would be a gift to Vladimir Putin, and given what we’ve learned about... Russia’s actions, Putin is eager to see Trump win."

Tying Trump to Putin may prove a potent line of attack, especially if the Russian dictator continues to be seen by many Americans as a "geopolitical foe," as Mitt Romney described the nation in 2012. Of course, given how Democrats largely mocked and dismissed Romney's statement at the time, they may have a tough time persuading enough voters to now embrace that view.