National Security

Conway: Earnest ‘Irresponsible’ for Insinuating that Trump Called on Russia to Hack Clinton Emails

President-elect Donald Trump’s senior adviser and former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on Thursday morning that White House spokesman Josh Earnest was "incredibly irresponsible" for saying that Trump told Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's emails.

Fox News co-host Brian Kilmeade played a clip from Monday's White House press briefing where Earnest made the accusation against Trump.

"The Republican nominee himself calling on Russia to hack his opponent. It might be an indication that he was obviously aware and concluded based on whatever facts or sources he was — he had available to him that Russia was involved. The Republican nominee chose a campaign chair that had extensive, lucrative, personal financial ties to the Kremlin, and it was obvious to those who were covering the race that the hack and leak strategy that had been operationalized was not being equally applied to the two parties," Earnest said.

The Obama administration in October accused Russia of hacking into American political systems, including the Democratic National Committee (DNC)’s computer networks, to influence the 2016 election. The U.S. intelligence community and Department of Homeland Security found cyber actors linked to the Russian government responsible for the attacks.

The DNC hack resulted in the public release of several damning emails, which led to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) being forced to resign as chairwoman of the DNC because of messages showing top party officials working to help Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary.

Conway responded by saying that Earnest must be auditioning to become a political pundit after he leaves the White House.

"That is incredibly disappointing to hear from the podium of the White House Press Secretary because he essentially stated that the President-elect had knowledge of this and maybe even fanned the flames. It's incredibly irresponsible and I wonder if his boss, President Obama agrees," Conway said.

Kilmeade said that President Obama does agree with this view and referenced how Obama told The Daily Show host Trevor Noah on Monday night that Trump encouraged the Russians to hack Clinton's emails.

"The president-elect in some of his political events, specifically said to the Russians, ‘Hack Hillary’s emails so that we can finally find out what’s going on and confirm our conspiracy theories," Obama said.

Conway said that Obama's sentiment is ‘unfortunate' and then noted how Obama and Clinton both conceded the election results and should respect them.

"[Clinton] got this party started, but I think coming from the podium and basically trying to relitigate a political campaign when the President and President-elect and their senior staff are trying to work together very closely to have a peaceful transition of power in our great democracy with just about a month plus to go. I find it very unfortunate," Conway said.