John Podesta says FBI informed him about hacked emails two days after WikiLeaks released them

The damaging emails from Podesta's personal account were steadily released by WikiLeaks until Election Day.

Barack Obama: ‘We need to take action and we will’ against Russian involvement in U.S. electionReuters

John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's former campaign chairman, said on Sunday (18 December) that the FBI first contacted him about his hacked email account on 9 October – two days after WikiLeaks began publishing the stolen emails online. In his first post-election interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Podesta noted that it was the first and last time the agency contacted him regarding the email hack.

"Let's go through the chronology. On October 7, the Access Hollywood tape comes out. One hour later, WikiLeaks starts dropping my emails into the public," Podesta said, referring to the leaked 2005 tape in which Donald Trump bragged in vulgar terms about kissing and groping women without their permission.

"One could say those things might not have been a coincidence. Two days later, the FBI contacted me, and the first thing the agent said to me was, 'I don't know if you're aware but your email account might have been hacked'. I said, 'yes, I was aware of that'."

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Podesta added: "By the way, that was the last time I'd heard from the FBI."

Host Chuck Todd then asked Podesta if he expected to get a phone call from the FBI before the end of the year, to which Podesta jokingly replied, "Maybe before the end of the show."

The damaging emails stolen from Podesta's email account were steadily leaked by WikiLeaks until Election Day, exposing the inner workings of Clinton's camp.

In a recently published op-ed in the Washington Post, Podesta wrote "something is deeply broken at the FBI".

"Comparing the FBI's massive response to the overblown email scandal with the seemingly lackadaisical response to the very real Russian plot to subvert a national election shows that something is deeply broken at the FBI," Podesta stressed, referring to the investigation into Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.

Hillary Clinton's former campaign chairman John Podesta says he hasn't heard from the FBI regarding his hacked emails since October.Reuters/Carlos Barria

The FBI and CIA recently concluded that Russia interfered in the US election in an attempt to sway the vote in President-elect Trump's favour. Senior US intelligence officials told NBC News that with "a high level of confidence" they believe Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the campaign to interfere in the election.

While Clinton's campaign continues to blame Putin for orchestrating the hacks, Trump has repeatedly expressed doubt over Russia's involvement in the cyberattacks.

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Meanwhile, Podesta also suggested that Trump's campaign staff may have been in touch with Russian officials involved in the hacks to try and influence the election.

"It's very much unknown whether there was collusion," Podesta said. "I think Russian diplomats have said post-election that they were talking to the Trump campaign.

"Roger Stone in August foreshadowed the fact that they had hacked my e-mails and those would be forthcoming when he said that he was in touch with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Carter Page, one of Trump's foreign policy advisers, went to Russia before the Republican convention and met with a person in the Russian hierarchy, who was responsible for collecting intelligence."

"What did Trump Inc. know and when did they know it?" Podesta continued, noting that Electoral College electors, who vote on Monday had a right to have all the information at hand. "Were they in touch with the Russians? I think those are still open questions."

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A bipartisan group of electors recently sought an intelligence briefing over the extent of Russia's meddling in the election. Trump's senior adviser Kellyanne Conway recently dismissed electors' concerns over Russia's alleged hacking of the election as "nonsense".

"I think that actually undermines our democracy more than any other conversation that we're having right now," she said.

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