”Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” the Republican presidential candidate said during a press conference, according to the New York Times. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
When a journalist in the crowd asked if Trump, 70, was literally asking a foreign nation to hack into a private email server, the former Apprentice host told the female reporter to “be quiet” and said that any actions going forward are “up to the president.”
Just to make sure his message was not missed, Trump later re-emphasized his point with a tweet. “If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!” the real estate mogul wrote.
The Clinton campaign responded immediately, denouncing Trump’s open invitation to Russia and other nations as a threat to national security.
“This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s chief foreign policy adviser, told the Times. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”
During the press conference, Trump also dismissed accusations that he had anything to do with the recent Democratic National Convention email hack that released nearly 20,000 private DNC emails to the public last Friday, July 22.
“I have nothing to do with [Vladimir] Putin,” he said. “I don’t know anything about him. … If it is Russia, which it’s probably not — nobody knows who it is — but if it is Russia, it’d be for a different reason. Because it shows how little respect they have for our country.”
The DNC last week claimed that Russia was most likely behind the email hack. Just days after numerous private messages were made public, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz stepped down amid accusations that the party had purposely blocked Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign against Clinton.
Sanders, 74, said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday that he was “disappointed” but “not shocked” by what the leaked emails revealed.
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