Republican candidate for President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally at Atlantic Aviation on June 11, 2016 in Moon Township, Pennsylvania.
Cyber experts: Russia hacked DNC, stole Trump research
02:27 - Source: CNN

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Donald Trump questioned whether the Democratic National Committee's research on him was really hacked

The party's 200 pages of research on Trump were sent to Gawker on Wednesday

Washington CNN  — 

Donald Trump on Wednesday asserted that the Democratic National Committee hadn’t been hacked at all – and in fact conjured the story itself – after the party’s research on Trump was purportedly sent to journalists by a hacker.

“This is all information that has been out there for many years. Much of it is false and/or entirely inaccurate,” Trump said in a statement. “We believe it was the DNC that did the ‘hacking’ as a way to distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader. Too bad the DNC doesn’t hack Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails.”

The research – which spans decades of Trump’s business deals, his controversial remarks on guns, immigration and women – is standard during a presidential campaign, when parties compile opposing candidates’ history and past comments to use in attack advertisements and rebuttals.

The DNC’s 200-page document on Trump, compiled in December, was published by Gawker after it was forwarded by someone going by the name “Guccifer 2.0” – a reference to a Romanian hacker who circulated information on the Bush family and other government officials in 2013 and is now imprisoned in Romania.

That the DNC was hacked was first revealed Tuesday when the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike said it had discovered two hacking collectives affiliated with Russian intelligence had penetrated the party’s network.

“CrowdStrike stands fully by its analysis and findings identifying two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network in May 2016,” CrowdStrike said in a statement after Gawker’s report was published.

“On June 15, 2016 a blog post to a Wordpress site authored by an individual using the moniker Guccifer 2.0 claiming credit for breaching the Democratic National Committee. This blog post presents documents alleged to have originated from the DNC,” the company said.

“Whether or not this posting is part of a Russian Intelligence disinformation campaign, we are exploring the documents’ authenticity and origin,” the company said. “Regardless, these claims do nothing to lessen our findings relating to the Russian government’s involvement, portions of which we have documented for the public and the greater security community.”

A senior DNC official insisted the Russian government was behind the episode.

“Our experts are confident in their assessment that the Russian government hackers were the actors responsible for the breach detected in April and May, and we believe that this release and the claims around it may be a part of a disinformation campaign by the Russians,” the official said. “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.”

Trump’s comment about Clinton’s 33,000 emails was a reference to those sent and received during her tenure as secretary of state on a private server the Clintons maintained. That server is now the subject of an FBI inquiry, and the issue has dogged Clinton’s campaign for more than a year.

CNN’s Tal Kopan and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.