During last night's debate, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump once again denied that Russia is responsible for hacking Democratic communications, but according to the Dallas Morning News, Trump's own advisers told him Russia is responsible during debate prep.
Trump's stance was particularly inexplicable because in a debate prep session Monday, one of his own national security advisers, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, told Trump that in his judgment — and that of the U.S. intelligence community — the hacks were directed by Russia.
"I have personally briefed him on that and told him that in my opinion ... this was in fact a nation-state attack by Russia," McCaul said Wednesday.
McCaul is both a Republican and the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. If Trump won't listen to him, who will he listen to?
It's fairly clear Trump only listens to the Kremlin.
It an open question to what extent Trump personally identifies with Vladimir Putin's worldview and to what extent Trump simply wants the Wikileaks releases to continue. I suspect its a bit of both.
If Trump openly admitted that Russia is responsible for the hacks, or openly criticized Russia, the releases may not continue and, at the very least, their political usefulness would evaporate.
With that said, I believe their usefulness has already evaporated, mostly because they haven't revealed anything substantively wrong. On the contrary, the release of her Wall Street speech transcripts revealed that she went to Wall Street and called for progressive policy reform.