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Hack into Republicans' committee leaves Trump in an awkward spot

Trump said last year that "careless" Dems should be "ashamed" of getting hacked. Will he say the same about the National Republican Campaign Committee?
A person man uses a laptop. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa/AP)
A person man uses a laptop.

When Russians hacked into the Democratic National Committee ahead of the 2016 elections, it had a dramatic impact on American politics. With that in mind, it's worth noting that the National Republican Campaign Committee was apparently hacked this year.

The emails of top officials at the campaign arm for House Republicans were stolen during the 2018 midterm election cycle, a spokesman confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday.Ian Prior, a spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee, said that the group had launched an internal probe and flagged the attack to the FBI. [...]The hack, which was first reported by Politico, involved the email accounts of four senior aides at the NRCC, said two sources with knowledge of the situation. Those accounts were surveilled for months, said the sources, who added that no donor information was compromised.

There's a lot about this story that we don't yet know, which makes it tough to answer the relevant questions. Was information stolen? Was it used against the party or its candidates? Who was responsible?

Politico's report added that Republican officials "privately believe it was a foreign agent because of the nature of the attack." I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but it'd be useful to know which foreign country we're talking about.

What's more, the same Politico article added, "The hack became a major source of consternation within the committee as the midterm campaign unfolded. The NRCC brought on the prominent Washington law firm Covington & Burling as well as Mercury Public Affairs to oversee the response to the hack. The NRCC paid the two firms hundreds of thousands of dollars to help respond to the intrusion. The committee's chief legal counsel, Chris Winkelman, devoted many hours to dealing with the matter."

But that seems weird, too. Why would the National Republican Campaign Committee spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on "the response" to an attack that the NRCC never publicly acknowledged and the public knew nothing about?

And finally, there's the matter of Donald Trump's previous rhetoric on the subject.

Early last year, the Republican accused Democrats of being "careless" and showing "gross negligence" for "allowing" themselves to get hacked. Several months later, the president added that Democratic officials "should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked."

So, does Trump believe "careless" Republicans should be equally "ashamed of themselves" now?