Trump says Russia should release the emails. GOP in damage control
MIAMI – Today Donald Trump decided that things on the campaign trail was getting a bit boring so he offered something that will clearly dominate the news cycle. The Republican nominee for president said he hopes that Russian hackers accused of breaching the Democratic National Committee have obtained the tens of thousands of emails that Hillary Clinton deleted from her private email server.
“If they hacked, they probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday at a press conference at his Miami-area hotel.
“They probably have her 33,000 emails that she lost and deleted. You’d see some beauties, so we’ll see.”
Trump later doubled down, addressing Russia directly through the media.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,00 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by the press.”
It’s worth noting that Trump dismissed the notion that he had any connection to Russia or the DNC email hack, casting doubt on the assessment that Russia was involved (he pointed a finger in China’s direction, instead). Yet the headline is that a major party candidate for President of the United States just said that he hopes a foreign power has sensitive U, S. documents.
Trump’s comments represented a stunning twist in a controversy about Russia’s alleged intervention in the presidential election after the release of Democratic Party emails, which appeared to show that party leaders were tilting the playing field against Clinton’s Democratic primary opponent Bernie Sanders. U.S. officials have said the emails were hacked from DNC servers in an operation originating in Russia that appeared to be linked to Moscow’s intelligence agency.
Trump also suggested during his news conference that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s lack of respect for the U.S. prompted him to once call President Barack Obama “the N word.” There are no published reports to back up Trump’s claim about Putin’s use of the racially derogatory term.
“I was shocked. Number one, he doesn’t like him. Number two, he doesn’t respect him,” Trump said.
He called Russia’s potential involvement in the hack another sign of Russia’s “disrespect for our country.”
Trump said U.S.-Russia relations would be better under his presidency than if Clinton ascended to the Oval Office, saying he would treat Putin “firmly,” but would seek to bolster ties between the U.S. and Russia.
“He will respect me,” Trump said.
Trump added that he doesn’t care which foreign country might have the emails, and that he’d like to read them regardless. “I need to be honest with you, I’d love to see them,” he said.
WikiLeaks on Friday released roughly 20,000 emails hacked from the servers of the Democratic National Committee. Experts say at least two Russian actors successfully hacked the servers, leading to speculation that the country’s government handed the emails over to WikiLeaks.
Trump said he is not convinced Russia is responsible for the leak, but that it was a bad sign for the Obama administration if it was Russia. “With the technology and the genius we have in this country … we don’t even know who took the Democratic National Committee emails,” he said. “I heard this morning … they don’t think it’s Russia. It might be China. Another report said it might be a hacker. Some guy with a 200 IQ who can’t get up in the morning.”
“If it is Russia, it’s really bad for a different reason because it shows how little respect they have for our country where they would hack into a major party,” he added.
Trump also said it was a misnomer to believe he would be easy on Russia, and that President Obama already made that mistake by pushing the country to become closer with China.
House speaker Paul Ryan’s chief communications adviser has distanced the speaker from Donald Trump’s comments encouraging Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails and release them.
“Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election,” Brendan Buck of was the first to report the Speaker’s comments.
Meanwhile, Trumps running-mate Mike Pence issued separate statement on Russian hacking
In an apparent bid to distance himself from Donald Trump’s assertion that Russia should hack Hillary Clinton’s private email servers, Indiana governor Mike Pence has issued a separate statement following Trump’s press conference this morning tried to clarify Trumps remarks. “Ensure there are serious consequences” for whoever hacked the Democratic National Committee’s email servers.
“The FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking,” Pence wrote. “If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences. That said, the Democrats singularly focusing on who might be behind it and not addressing the basic fact that they’ve been exposed as a party who not only rigs the government, but rigs elections while literally accepting cash for federal appointments is outrageous. The American people now have absolute and further proof of the corruption that exists around Hillary Clinton. It should disqualify her from office, if the media did their job.”
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s campaign on Wednesday said Donald Trump’s suggestion that Russia should hack the Democrat’s email system was an unprecedented move that has become a national security issue.
“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,” said senior policy aide Jake Sullivan. “That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”
The Clinton campaign has been increasingly forceful about linking Russia to the leak in recent days as expert analyses have concluded such a link is likely.
“The Russians do have a history of interfering with Democratic elections in Europe,” campaign chairman John Podesta told reporters on Tuesday. “I think it would be unprecedented in the United States.”
Asked about Trump’s relationship with Russia, in light of the leaks, Podesta added, “He certainly has a bromance with Mr. Putin, so I don’t know.”