A hacker who claimed responsibility for breaching the Democratic National Committee’s computer system leaked a document appearing to show the group discussing Hillary Clinton as the party’s nominee months ahead of the first primary election.
The memo, posted by "Guccifer 2.0," said the DNC should "use specific hits to muddy the waters around ethics, transparency and campaign finance attacks on HRC" as part of its strategy to draw contrast with the GOP presidential contenders, the New York Post reported.
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HRC is shorthand for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The document was dated May 26, 2015—one month after Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy and nearly nine months before primary voting began.
It detailed the DNC’s goals for the months leading up to the primaries, stressing the need "to frame the Republican field and the eventual nominee early and to provide a contrast between the GOP field and HRC."
Party rules require the DNC to remain neutral in presidential primaries so that all candidates are given a fair shot.
Sanders accused the Democratic party of rigging the national convention against his candidacy throughout his campaign, repeatedly calling for the resignation of DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Some Sanders supporters declared the leaked document vindication of the Vermont senator’s accusations.
The DNC confirmed Tuesday that Russian government hackers had broken into its computer network.
Guccifer 2.0 claimed the breach was the work of a "lone hacker," but the DNC stood by its security evaluation.
"We believe that today’s release and the claims around it may be a part of a disinformation campaign by the Russians," a senior official told the Post. "We’ve deployed the recommended technology so that today our systems are secure thanks to a swift response to that attack and we will continue to monitor our systems closely."
The official did not comment on the DNC’s apparent bias detailed in the leaked memo.