Donald Trump has challenged Russian intelligence to hack into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails server, while insisting that he has no relations with Russia as tossing aside suggestions that the foreign power was scheming to get him elected.
The New York business magnate and GOP presidential nominee held a news conference at which he criticized his Democratic rival and promised better of US-Russian relations under a Trump administration.
“I have nothing to do with Russia,” said the candidate, who frequently asserts he will get Putin’s respect. Trump said he had never met or spoken to the Russian leader, but he cast doubt over accusations that Moscow was behind a hack of Democratic Party e-mails that embarrassed the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“If it is Russia, which it probably isn’t, but if it is Russia, it’s bad for a different reason, it shows how little respect they have for our country,” said Trump in reference to the e-mail hack.
He then referenced Clinton’s scandal involving her use of a personal e-mail server during her time as secretary of state, and the more than 30,000 messages that she deleted on grounds they were personal and not related to her government job function.
“I will tell you this, Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” Trump said.
Donald Trump: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing." https://t.co/f522S7Tn0F
— CNN (@CNN) July 27, 2016
The Clinton camp responded by accusing Trump of encouraging foreign 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,” Clinton’s senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan said. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”
The FBI investigated Clinton’s e-mail matter and concluded that she had been “extremely careless” in her use of classified material but did not recommend she face criminal charges.
Clinton’s campaign has blamed Russia for a damaging leak of e-mails from the Democratic National Committee, which seemingly revealed an inside attempt to undermine the campaign of her rival Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination.