The former chair of the Democratic National Committee responded to the latest special counsel indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking into the DNC's server during the 2016 presidential campaign by calling on President Donald Trump to "confront" Vladimir Putin about the allegations at their summit Monday.
"First of all, it is finally acknowledged that the hacking was a crime," Donna Brazile said of the indictment on the "This Week" roundtable. "At the time of the hacking, no one believed us. We didn't have anyone to come to our defense."
"When the country was under attack, the DNC was under attack, the DCCC and the Clinton campaign," said Brazile, who took over as interim chair of the DNC in the summer of 2016 after the first hacking and leak of DNC emails forced the resignation of former DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. "So here's what I'd like to say to the president: Confront Mr. Putin. Give him this document. Let him know that the United States will not tolerate another hacking of our elections."
"The most important thing now is that we know there are several witches, not some 400-pound guy sitting on the bed," Brazile added. "The president needs to acknowledge this and realize that he needs to protect and defend our democracy. The Russians took our emails, took our data and they could still use that information to try to sow discord and to try to damage our democratic institutions."
The special counsel Robert Mueller filed an indictment Friday charging 12 Russian intelligence officers with conspiring to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The indictment alleges that the dozen Russians worked in the GRU, Russia's intelligence body. The named defendants are specifically alleged to have taken part in a sustained effort to hack into the networks of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
In an excerpt from an interview with Trump with CBS News' Jeff Glor, the president said the DNC was to blame for the hacking.
"I heard that they were trying or people were trying to hack into the RNC too, the Republican National Committee, but we had much better defenses. I've been told that by a number of people. We had much better defenses so they couldn't," said Trump, who later conceded he "may be wrong" about Republican servers having better defense mechanisms in place.
"I think the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked," Trump added. "They had bad defenses and they were able to be hacked."
"President Trump this morning said that the Democratic party should be ashamed of itself," Brazile responded on "This Week." "Well, my response to the president is that there was no way we could go to Staples or Best Buy or Office Depot or OfficeMax to buy anti-GRU military intelligence software to protect and defend ourselves."
Brazile also faulted the media for their reporting on the hacked emails from a “corrupted source,” saying the coverage “blew it out of proportion.”
“What WikiLeaks did once they received the information is they used it strategically each day to shape the political narrative. And the media played it up. It was the only story,” Brazile said.
“You should have said this information is from stolen hacked emails and the lives that you put at risk when this happened, the lives you put at risk when you used this information and weaponized it, it went right to the heart of what Mr. Putin was trying to do in our election,” Brazile added.
ABC News contributor and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who headed Trump’s transition team in the final months of the campaign, agreed with Brazile’s criticism of the media’s role.
“We live in a media culture today that only cares about getting whatever is new first,” Christie said on “This Week.” “And the idea of what damage that may cause or not cause becomes a secondary or even tertiary concern... Donna is right, people were put at risk here in a way, because of the way this was played that was irresponsible.”
“You had to know they didn't have all of her emails. They just took the most embarrassing ones,” Christie added. “And you can't assess the credibility of somebody who is just part of a story, but the media banged her and a lot of other people in the Clinton campaign unfairly.”