Trump to Russia: I hope you can find 30K missing Clinton emails
Donald Trump Wednesday said allegations of Russia hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) “are a total deflection” before “hoping” those responsible could find 33,000 missing emails processed through Hillary Clinton’s private server when she was secretary of state.
The one-two jab married two majorly divisive issues for the Democrats’ campaign: the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary and a leak last week of internal DNC messages that showed favoritism of the Clinton campaign during the primaries.
“It’s just a total deflection this whole thing with Russia,” Trump told reporters in Florida. “By the way, if they hacked, they probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do. They probably have her 33,000 emails that she lost and deleted because you’d see some beauties there.”
Earlier in the week, Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said it was believed Russia played a role in providing the hacked DNC emails, which have fostered dissension among the left-leaning ranks, to Wikileaks.
“He reminded me of John Lovitz from Saturday Night Live [as his Tommy Flanagan character] ‘the liar.’” Trump quipped.
Trump meanwhile has fended off a recent barrage of attacks linking him to Russian President Vladimir Putin over a shared admiration.
“I have nothing to do with Putin. I’ve never spoken to him. I don’t know anything about him other than he will respect me,” Trump said. “He doesn’t respect our president. If it is Russia, which it probably is not, nobody knows who it is. But if it is Russia, it’s really bad for a different reason – because it shows how little respect they have for our country when they would hack into a major party and have everything.
He then issued a call to Russia.
“Russia if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens,” Trump said.
The FBI has launched an investigation into the hack. Security officials Wednesday said there were some signs Russia could be responsible.
Clinton campaign officials accused Trump of encouraging espionage.
"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 senior policy adviser, said. "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."
Trump's running mate, Mike Pence said Russia should face "serious consequences" the country was found to be interfering in the U.S. electoral process -- in a statement issued moments after Trump press conference.
Pence said "both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences" to the hacking.
The statement in full:
“The FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking. 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."
"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. 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."