Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has encouraged Russia to find the missing emails of his rival Hillary Clinton when she served as the secretary of state.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said. “I think you’ll probably be rewarded mightily by our press!”
The emails referred to are the private messages the Democratic presidential nominee had deleted. She had turned over the rest of the emails to the State Department. While an investigation into the matter concluded she should not face charges, the director of the agency said Clinton had been “extremely careless” in the way she handled the emails.
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As reported by the New York Times, Trump’s comments came in the midst of hacking of the computer servers of the Democratic National Convention. The American intelligence agencies said they have “high confidence” that the Russian government is responsible for the hack.
Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s senior policy adviser, said, “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. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”
President Barack Obama also alluded to the idea that Russia may be behind the hacking. “What we do know is that the Russians hack out systems,” Obama said in an interview with NBC News on Wednesday. “Not just government systems, but private systems.”
Obama’s government has in the past been accused of hacking servers of other governments.
Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, said Russia’s interference in the presidential elections could have “serious consequences.”
“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,” Pence said, as reported by Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the hack in ongoing. The emails in question reveal that Democratic National Convention officials who are supposed to have an unbiased stand favored Clinton.
Elie Jacobs, a cyber-security expert from the Truman National Security Project, said while there is a possibility Russia is behind the hacking it is doubtful that Trump was involved. “I think this was purely an act of cyber warfare, and that’s really the larger story, and less about what it has to do with the political cycle right now,” Jacobs said.