A pretty good question that might stump the partisans who routinely deny that Wikileaks (or, as I call it, Putinleaks) had any effect on the election. Sure, it may be the case that the election result would have been the same absent Putinleaks. But, as Tapper points out here, Donald Trump sure thought the Putinleaks revelations were important — because he brought them up over, and over, and over again.
TAPPER: And if you listen to what Mr. Trump had to say on the stump, all the time, he invoked Wikileaks dozens and dozens of times to try to suggest that the Wikileaks had said that there were things that Hillary Clinton was doing or had done that were untoward. Take a listen:
TRUMP: What you have to do is just take a look at Wikileaks, and just see what they said about Bernie Sanders.
TRUMP: Wikileaks just actually came out, John Podesta said some horrible things about you. And boy, was he right. He said some beauties.
TRUMP: Wikileaks, that just came out. And, she lied. Now she’s blaming the lie on the late, great Abraham Lincoln.
TAPPER: So I guess what I’m confused about is, how can you say that the hacking had no impact on the election when Mr. Trump kept invoking Wikileaks, which was printing, publishing, things that the Russians had hacked? Obviously, he thought it was going to have an effect on the election.
CONWAY: Well, having an — it had an effect on his debate answer. And it had an effect on the Clinton campaign because it was quite embarrassing to watch her closest advisors question her judgment, question whether she would ever find her voice, wondering aloud why she was testing 84 slogans to find out who she was and what she’d run on. This guy had “Make America Great Again” — it never changed. And I know that’s very embarrassing. Them calling Chelsea Clinton, some of them, a spoiled brat . . . that’s very uncomfortable. But that’s what was hacked.
Conway goes on to make the points that the RNC had better firewalls in place, and that the DNC denied access to their server to the FBI. She argues that Wikileaks did not determine the election results, which may well be true. She also claims at one point early in the full interview that the intelligence community had determined that Wikileaks had no effect on the election results — a lie that Tapper corrects. (The intelligence community pointedly made no such determination.)
Tapper asks a good question. No matter what you think about the actual effect of Putinleaks, Trump thought they were important enough to bring up, time and time again. Partisan defenses of Trump should take account of this fact — if those offering the defenses care about the facts, that is.
Here’s the full video: