Trump: China may be behind hacked emails of Democratic officials
President links Beijing to interference in presidential election – but offers no evidence
During the September 26th presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump said China was one of many actors that could have been behind the hack. Photograph: Getty Images
Mr Trump’s suggestion counters the view of US intelligence officials who have said Moscow orchestrated the hacks.
In an interview transcript published on Sunday, Mr Trump gave no evidence backing his allegation, first made on the eve of the November 8th presidential election, that China could have hacked the emails of his rivals.
“If you don’t catch a hacker, okay, in the act, it’s very hard to say who did the hacking,” said the president in an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation. “[It] could have been China, could have been a lot of different groups.”
The hackers disrupted the presidential campaign publicising embarrassing emails sent by Democratic operatives and aides to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. One email showed party leaders favouring Clinton over her rival in the campaign for the party’s internal nomination contest.
Mr Trump has been dismissive intelligence officials’ statements that Moscow hacked the emails to help Mr Trump win the election. During the September 26th presidential debate with Mrs Clinton, Mr Trump said China was one of many actors that could have been behind the hack, including “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400lbs”.
Like Russia, China is a long-standing cybersecurity adversary of the United States. Mr Trump in recent weeks has softened his criticism of Chinese trade policies as Washington seeks Beijing’s support in diffusing military tensions with North Korea.
Before Mr Trump was elected, he pledged to improve relations with Moscow. Russia has denied any involvement in the hacks. Politicians are investigating whether Mr Trump’s campaign team had ties with Russia.