At the Republican National Convention in mid-July, the Trump campaign, seemingly out of the blue, had twisted arms to make the GOP platform more Putin-friendly. Unusually, the convention was attended by the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. Earlier that month, Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page had given a speech in Moscow criticizing the United States for its “often hypocritical focus on democratization” and praising the Putin regime.
We knew all of this at the Democratic National Convention. And yet when I and other members of the campaign repeated that Russia was responsible for the hack and was doing this to help Donald Trump, many in the press seemed skeptical, treating the assertion as mere spin. A lot of people appeared to believe that the idea of Russia helping Trump was far-fetched. Even some of our staunchest supporters seemed to think I might have lost my marbles.
Election Day was long gone before Russia’s interference in the campaign — and the possibility of the Kremlin’s coordination with agents of the Trump campaign — was widely accepted.