In his first remarks since WikiLeaks began releasing thousands of his hacked emails, John D. Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, said Tuesday that Russian intelligence officials intent on swaying the election to Donald J. Trump had been responsible for the illegal breach into his account. “I’ve been involved in politics for nearly five decades,” Mr. Podesta told reporters aboard the Clinton campaign plane. “This definitely is the first campaign that I’ve been involved with in which I’ve had to tangle with Russian intelligence agencies,” he added, “who seem to be doing everything that they can on behalf of our opponent.” Without verifying the authenticity of the emails, Mr. Podesta said that he had spoken with the F.B.I. “as a victim” of hacking. The Obama administration, like Mr. Podesta, believes the Russian government has been trying to help Mr. Trump with its hacking, including the theft of emails of the Democratic National Committee this year. Mr. Podesta said Mr. Trump had “essentially adopted lock, stock and barrel” a foreign policy that would favor the interests of President Vladimir V. Putin.
Mr. Podesta also cast blame on Julian Assange, the head of WikiLeaks and an avowed critic of Mrs. Clinton. He said WikiLeaks had strategically released the first batch of his emails Friday afternoon to distract attention from the damaging video that had just emerged of Mr. Trump making lewd comments about women.
“It wasn’t any coincidence, I think, that within minutes of the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape coming out, they decided that this was their countermove,” Mr. Podesta said.
The hacked emails have not done much to help Mr. Trump in the polls, but they have proved to be a persistent distraction. Earlier on Tuesday, some newly released emails suggested that a senior Clinton campaign aide had been in touch with government officials about the release of her State Department emails, exchanges that prompted accusations of collusion from Republicans on Tuesday.