MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian presidential spokesman on Tuesday accused U.S. politicians of being paranoid after Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign blamed Russia for an email hack and suggested the goal was to help Republican Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential race.
Hacked emails posted by Wikileaks Friday suggested the Democratic National Committee was favoring Clinton over her primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Clinton's campaign on Monday blamed Russia for the hack. Trump has dismissed claims that it was committed by Russia for his benefit, calling them a joke.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Tuesday that the allegation is just another "paranoid" attempt by American politicians to play what he called "the Russia card" during the campaign.
"We're still witnessing attempts to use the Russian issue — in a paranoid way — during the U.S. election campaign," he told reporters on Tuesday. "There's nothing new here, it's a sort of traditional pastime of theirs. We think it's not good for bilateral ties but we realize that we have to go through this unfavorable period."
Peskov also denied what he said were reports that Trump's foreign policy adviser Carter Page met with Putin's chief of staff during a visit to Moscow earlier this month, but it wasn't clear what reports he was referring to. A Google search turned up no such reports in Russian or English.
"I asked Sergei Borisovich (Ivanov) if he has met this man, and Sergei Borisovich said he would not comment on such outlandish reports," Peskov said.
Page, who worked for Merrill Lynch in Moscow in the 2000s, visited in early July and gave a public address and a commencement speech at a university.