US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump
The campaign manager of US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton says Republican candidate Donald Trump “could be puppet for the Kremlin.”
Robby Mook made the remarks on Sunday in an interview with ABC News, days after the Clinton campaign released a video, raising questions about Trump’s alleged close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It’s clear that they are supporting Donald Trump. But we now need Donald Trump to explain to us the extent to which the hand of the Kremlin is at the core of his own campaign," Mook said.
He then urged Trump to disclose his financial ties to the Russians.
"There's a web of financial interests that have not been disclosed, and there are real questions being raised about whether Donald Trump himself is just a puppet for the Kremlin in this race,” he said.
“You’re saying Donald Trump is a puppet for the Kremlin?” the bewildered ABC host asked.
Mook replied by enlisting alleged connections between the Republican presidential nominee and the Russian president.
"We've seen, over the last few weeks, him parroting Vladimir Putin in his own remarks," Mook said.
"We saw the Republican Party platform change. We saw Donald Trump talk about leaving NATO and leaving our Eastern European allies vulnerable to a Russian attack,” he added.
The Democrats have long accused the Kremlin of attempting to influence the US elections in favor of Trump, who has firmly denied any ties to Russia and its president.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stands as he enters the hall to give a press conference with his Turkish counterpart in Konstantinovsky Palace outside Saint Petersburg on August 9, 2016. (AFP photo)
The Clinton campaign video, released earlier this month, began with an onscreen text that read:
“We don't know why Trump praises Putin,” before showing footage of the New York businessman describing the Russian head of state as a “strong leader.”
In an article published by the New York Times on August 5, a former top CIA official accused Putin of recruiting Trump as an “unwitting agent” of Moscow.
Former CIA acting director Michael Morell endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president and called Trump unqualified and a threat to America’s national security.
Morell, who worked under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said he had voted for both Republicans and Democrats in the past, but decided to end his silence over his political preferences because he considered Trump as a threat to national security.
"Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated," Morell wrote.
He said the former secretary of state would keep “our nation safe," and that she found her to be "prepared, detail-oriented ad thoughtful" when working with her in the past.