GOP angry at Trump’s off the wall comments
WASHINGTON – Donald J. Trump said Wednesday that he hoped Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially sanctioning a foreign power’s cyberspying of a secretary of state’s correspondence.
He also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was a better president than U.S. President Barack Obama. Just another day in the land of Donald Trump. He began the day with a speech in Miami where he seemed to think that Russia hacking the Democratic Committee computer was a good idea and if by chance they hand the emails that his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton got rid of when she was Secretary of State he would be fine if they released them too.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, staring directly into the cameras. “I think you will probably be mightily rewarded by our press.”
Mr. Trump’s call was an extraordinary moment at a time when Russia is being accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election. His comments came amid questions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, which researchers have concluded was likely the work of two Russian intelligence agencies.
Later in the news conference, when asked if he was really urging a foreign nation to hack into the private email server of Mrs. Clinton, or at least meddle in the nation’s elections, he dismissed the question. “That’s up to the president,” Mr. Trump said, before finally telling NBC reporter Katie Tur, to “be quiet” — let the president talk to them.
The billionaire businessman later back-pedalled on Twitter, calling instead for the country to hand the emails over the FBI.
Even Trump’s vice presidential running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, seemed shocked by Trump’s comments and moved quickly to distance himself from them: “If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you that both [political] parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences.”
The comments have drawn widespread criticism for “essentially urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyberespionage against a former secretary of state”, the New York Times says.
Russia is already accused of “trying to interfere in the election”, The Washington Post reports.
Clinton’s foreign policy adviser, Jake Sullivan, said the presidential candidate “does not view this as a political issue; she views this as a national security issue”.
The FBI is planning to investigate foreign involvement in the hack after researchers concluded the breach was carried out by at least “two Russian intelligence agencies”.
Regardless of where it originated, the hack has been extremely damaging for Clinton. While the true culprits “may never be conclusively proven”, there is plenty of evidence suggesting her Republican rival, Donald Trump, “can count on at least some backing from Moscow”, says Julian Borger in The Guardian.
This morning Trump says Russian leader Vladimir Putin is “doing a better job” than President Obama, he said during an appearance on Fox and Friends.
“I said he’s a better leader than Obama because Obama’s not a leader,” Trump said in an interview aired Thursday on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.” “He’s certainly doing a better job than Obama is, that’s all.”
The Republican presidential nominee stressed improved relations with Russia during the discussion with host Brian Kilmeade.
“Now look, you have to understand, Putin — if we could get along with Russia, I think that would be a good thing, not a bad thing. We don’t get along with Russia. We practically don’t get along with too many.”
Trump blamed much of the current tension on Obama, noting Russian aircraft buzzing U.S. military ships in recent months.
“You know why they do that?” he asked. “They have no respect for our leader. They have zero respect for our leader. That’s why they do that.”
“I don’t think they’d be doing that,” Trump added of his possible presidency. “I don’t think they’d be doing that for one minute.”
Trump on Wednesday said he does not know Putin personally despite previously remarking the pair have met.
According to The Washington Post “It’s appalling,” Dr. Eliot A. Cohen, who was counselor of the State Department during the second term of George W. Bush’s presidency, said to me today. “Calling on a foreign government to go after your opponent in an American election?”
Cohen recently organized an open letter from a range of GOP national security leaders that denounced Trump in harsh terms, arguing that Trump’s “own statements” indicate that “he would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe, and which would diminish our standing in the world.” The letter said: “As committed and loyal Republicans, we are unable to support a Party ticket with Mr. Trump at its head. We commit ourselves to working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office.”
But this latest from Trump, by pushing the envelope once again, raises the question of whether other prominent Republicans are ever going to join in.
Meanwhile in Moscow the officially the country is neutral, Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed Trump as a “very talented” leader. Russian state TV, which cleaves closely to the Kremlin’s world view, “has left little doubt” Moscow would prefer a Trump presidency, repeatedly casting Clinton as a “warmonger”, says CNBC.
In turn, the New York property tycoon has called Putin a “strong leader”, spoken of wanting to reform the US relationship with Russia and suggested he might abandon the NATO pledge to automatically defend all alliance members.
THE VIDEO USED IN THIS STORY IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS AND MORNING JOE