Donald Trump says China could be behind 2016 US elections hacking

Namrata Tripathi
Donald Trump

United States President Donald Trump on Sunday said that China could have hacked the emails of the Democratic party officials during last year's US presidential elections. The Republican's statement countered the view of the US intelligence officials who have said that Russia was behind the hacks.

Trump statements alleging China's possible involvement in the election interference were published on Sunday in an interview transcript. The US President, however, gave no evidence to back his claims. He had first referred to China's involvement in the elections last year, a day before the November 8 presidential elections.

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"If you don't catch a hacker, okay, in the act, it's very hard to say who did the hacking," the president said in an interview with CBS "Face the Nation." "(It) could have been China, could have been a lot of different groups."

2016 US Presidential elections saw multiple hacking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials' emails, which were later leaked by Wikileaks. The hack resulted in the resignation of DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman, whose emailed showed her favouring presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over her rival campaigner Bernie Sanders. The hack of other important members of the DNC took a hit on the Clinton campaign.

hacking

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US intelligence officials subsequently established that the hacks were conducted from Russia, and that they were done to help the Republican candidate Donald Trump win the presidential elections. Trump, however, has been dismissive of the intelligence officials' statements.

The Republican, during a presidential debate with Clinton on September 26, had claimed that China was one of the many actors who could have been behind the hack, including "somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds", according to Reuters reports.

Despite heightened tensions between US and Russia, Trump has always appeared to favour Moscow and its leader Vladimir Putin, lauding his leadership on many occasions. The Republican had also pledged to improve relations with Moscow before he was elected.

Russia has denied any involvement in the presidential elections hack. However, US intelligence agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is currently probing Trump campaign team's possible links with Russia.