Russian president Vladimir Putin's admiration for Donald Trump is rivaled by his passionate hate for Hillary Clinton, adding credence to the accusations that Russia is behind the damaging Democratic Party email leaks, former U.S. officials and experts told NBC News.
Putin carries a grudge against Clinton because she has publicly compared him to Hitler and expressed doubts that he has a soul.
Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Russia from early 2012 to 2014 said Putin "sees some of Clinton's remarks as a personal attack against him and the way he governs his country and how he conducts his foreign policy."
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Like other former Obama administration Russia policy experts, McFaul said Putin-sponsored hackers were the most likely culprit in the hacking of 20,000 DNC emails that were posted last Friday by WikiLeaks. Cybersecurity experts also say mounting evidence all points in one direction.