NBC host Chuck Todd pressed a senior adviser for Donald Trump’s campaign on why the Republican nominee still refuses to blame Russia for the hacking of Democratic Party organizations this campaign cycle.
The US government has formally accused Russia of the hacks, which hit the Democratic National Committee as well as Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. But Trump has so far refused to acknowledge Russia’s apparent role in the hacks and has cited some of the hacked material at his rallies. The US government has accused Russia of carrying out the hacks in an attempt to influence the election.
Todd noted that other Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio, have condemned Russian meddling.
“Does your candidate not feel it inappropriate to use this material when a foreign adversary of the United States is trying to muck up the election?” Todd asked Trump’s senior communications adviser Jason Miller.
Miller pivoted to attack Clinton.
“The thing you notice from the Clinton campaign is what they don’t want to talk about is what’s in those emails – the two-faced approach where one thing is said in public and another thing is said in private,” Miller said. “We’re seeing evidence of FBI collusion, DOJ [Department of Justice] collusion, we’re seeing all these things coming forward and obviously we’re opposed to hacking.”
Todd cut in.
“Why doesn’t Donald Trump recognize, acknowledge that the Russians are doing this?” Todd asked. “He’s getting security briefings. “He’s, from what we understand, been told that the Russians are trying to mess with this election. Why did he go out in public and basically deny it?”
Miller repeated his previous answer.
“We’ve been very clear that we oppose hacking and that that’s not something obviously that we support,” Miller said. “But Mr. Trump, it’s not his job to go and, he’s not the law enforcement who’s investigating and looking at that.”
“Is he running for president of the United States?” Todd asked. “He wants to be commander in chief? Is he not going to make decisions based on intelligence that he’s gotten from intelligence professionals?”
Miller then chided Todd for spending too much time asking him about the Russian hacks.
“Chuck, I can’t believe you’re spending all this time on this,” Miller said.
“No, I’m asking you this,” Todd said. “This is not an unimportant thing.”
Todd again repeated his question, and Miller repeated his pivot to the Clinton campaign before eventually deflecting.
“Look, when law enforcement is done with their investigation, they’ll put out their final report, and then we’ll know,” Miller said. “It’s not our job to speculate.”