Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a fundraiser at the Paramount Theater October 14, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by AFP)
The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has framed the hacking of its emails as a criminal theft similar to the infamous Watergate scandal of the 1970s.
In an essay obtained by POLITICO, the Clinton campaign suggests Republican rival Donald Trump and his advisers are directly connected to the hack of campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, which are being released by WikiLeaks on a daily basis.
“What did Trump know, and when did he know it?” the campaign asks in an apparent play on the famous line from the Senate Watergate investigation.
Watergate scandal refers to the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office in Washington, DC, and the Richard Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement in the theft of Democratic documents.
In 1973, Senator Howard Baker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee, captured the essence of his inquiry with one intriguing question that later became a mantra in Washington parlance. "What did the president know, and when did he know it?" he asked of Nixon, who later resigned as president.
Tourists in front of the White House read headlines, 'Nixon Resigning,' on August 8, 1974.
“We’re witnessing another effort to steal private campaign documents in order to influence an election,” Clinton campaign spokesman Glen Caplin writes in an early version of the essay. “Only this time, instead of filing cabinets, it’s people’s emails they’re breaking into…and a foreign government is behind it.”
“Donald Trump needs to condemn these illegal hacks and denounce Russian efforts to intervene in our election,” Caplin says.
The Clinton campaign claims the Russian government is behind the breach and accuses Trump of having ties with President Vladimir Putin.
“Why is Trump protecting Putin by lying about Russia’s role in these hacks? What did his campaign know and when did they know it? Why won’t he condemn this? With less than a month until Election Day, these are the questions we need answered — and soon,” Caplin writes.
WikiLeaks has said that it will be releasing all the 50,000 emails it claims it has every day until the Election Day on November 8.
Strategists warn the leaks will create a constant trickle of embarrassment for Clinton and give Trump fodder for attacks.  
The emails offer an insight into the Democratic campaign's methods and how a Clinton administration may be run if she wins the presidency.

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