QUESTION: Thanks, Jake. James Reinl here from Al Jazeera. A number of Clinton campaign officials have suggested there’s a link between the email leaking and Russian state hackers. In your opinion, how strong is the evidence linking the Russian state to this? And why do you think the Kremlin would prefer a President Trump to a President Clinton?
MR SULLIVAN: We have seen multiple intelligence experts, as well as security firms, describe the attack, the cyberattack on the DNC as carried out or conducted by Russian Government-sponsored entities. You’ve heard that now increasingly from experts who have deep experience in both the cyber domain and in the particular behavior of Russian-backed cyber actors. And I have to say that this is not a new phenomenon that Russia would interfere in the elections of other countries. It is a new watershed if it is borne out to, in fact, be the case. And the FBI has just today said that it is launching an investigation, so we will see as time goes on what gets proven.
But if it is indeed the case that Russia was behind this hack, this would be a new watershed. This would be Russia interfering in the American presidential election, which is deeply alarming and completely unacceptable if it bears out to be true.
In terms of why Russia would want to do this, I’m not going to stand up here and speculate today nor reach any definitive conclusions of any kind, but I will say this: Hillary Clinton’s position on supporting our allies in Europe, Hillary Clinton’s position on energy security for Europe, Hillary Clinton’s position on advancing human rights and democracy around the world may not sit too well with certain actors in the Kremlin. I will leave it to you to look at Donald Trump’s position on these various issues – his position on NATO, his position on Vladimir Putin – and judge for yourself what the answer to your question is.
All I can tell you is a number of very credible, experienced experts have drawn this link, it is consistent with behavior we have seen, and now let’s see what the facts bear out. But all Americans – Democrat, Republican, or Independent – if it turns out to be the case that Russia is doing this, needs to stand together and say we will not tolerate this kind of behavior.