But Democrats see a more sinister plan: to taint special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe, while simultaneously motivating Trump’s political base on the precipice of an election in which Democrats are favored to make gains. To Democrats, the situation has eerie similarities to 2016, when WikiLeaks’ slow-drip daily release of internal Clinton campaign emails hobbled Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and offered regular fodder for Republicans.

“Oh, God,” said Jennifer Palmieri, former communications director for Clinton’s campaign. “Trump could be setting the stage for the same kind of manufactured October surprise designed to help boost his standing and undermine Mueller.”