Jake Tapper hammers Conway for downplaying hack impact: Trump 'invoked Wikileaks dozens of times'
CNN's Jake Tapper and Kellyanne Conway -- CNN screencapture

CNN's Jake Tapper went head to head with Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway on Sunday for denying the Wikileaks hacks had any impact on the election by hammering her over Trump using them as a central talking point during the campaign.


Host Tapper pressed her when she tried to dismiss their importance as Trump repeatedly invoked Wikileaks on the campaign trail and during the presidential debates.

"What the intelligence community said is that there was no evidence that Russia was able to penetrate any of the voting machines and affect the outcome and they said they didn't have any evidence, and that it wasn't in their charge to determine whether or not the information that was hacked by Russia that was ultimately leaked to the public, whether or not that changed any votes," Tapper said. "And if you listen to what Mr. Trump had to say on the stump all the time, he invoked Wikileaks dozens and dozens of times to try to suggest that the Wikileaks said that there were things that Hillary Clinton was doing or had done that were untoward."

After sharing a series of clips of Trump invoking Wikileaks, a puzzled Tapper continued.

"So I guess what I'm confused about is how can you say that the hacking had no impact on the election when Mr. Trump kept invoking Wikileaks, which was printing, publishing things that the Russians had hacked?" the host asked. "Obviously he thought it was going to have an effect on the election."

"Well, it had an effect on his debate answer and it had an effect on the Clinton campaign because it was quite embarrassing to watch her closest advisers question her judgment and question whether she would ever find her voice and wondering allowed why she was testing 84 slogans to find out who she was and what she had won on," Conway said, pivoting away from the question. "This guy had 'make America great again' and never change. That's very embarrassing, them calling Chelsea Clinton, a spoiled brat. That's very uncomfortable but that's what was hacked."

"But why invoke all those Wikileaks that were the work of Russian intelligence, according to our intelligence agencies, why invoke all the wikileaks unless --" Tapper parried as Conway cut him off.

"He didn't know that at the time," she shot back. "He said he didn't know who the source is. he's right.

"But you are trying to change public impressions of Hillary Clinton, right?" Tapper said. "Mr. Trump and you and others were trying to make an argument against Hillary Clinton using the work of Wikileaks."

"Oh, you know what, Jake," Conway smirked. "With all due respect to Hillary Clinton, we didn't need Wikileaks to convince the American people they didn't like her, didn't trust her or find her to be honest. She did that all on her own."

Watch the video below via CNN: