Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump openly called on Russia to hack his opponent Hillary Clinton after speculation Moscow may be responsible for a security breach at the Democratic National Committee.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said in a press conference Wednesday. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Trump was referencing the approximately 30,000 emails Clinton deleted from the private server she used while secretary of state, which she said were personal in nature. The remaining emails were turned over for an FBI investigation over whether Clinton broke the law by dealing with classified information in unsecured emails.
When asked by a reporter on whether he has any qualms about asking a foreign country to hack his political opponent, Trump said definitively, “No, it gives me no pause.”
When Katy Tur of NBC continued to press Trump on the issue, he told her to “be quiet, I know you want to, you know, save her,” in reference to Clinton.
U.S. security experts suspect Russia was behind the DNC security breach, which came to light over the weekend. Hacked documents revealed that the organization was promoting Clinton over her rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Democratic officials have speculated that the hack originated in the Kremlin because Russian President Vladimir Putin views a Trump presidency as more advantageous for him than a Clinton one.
Trump has publicly praised Putin’s leadership but denies that he has any business interests in the country or is connected in any way to the hack.
The Clinton campaign, which argues Trump does not have the temperment or experience to be commander in chief, said Wednesday his comments were “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,” Clinton foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement. “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."
On the campaign trail, the Republican candidate continues to discuss Clinton’s use of the private email server after the FBI found her guilty of no criminal wrongdoing and the Department of Justice declined to press charges.
“If Russia or China or any other country have those emails, I mean, to be honest with you, I'd love to see them,” Trump said. “They probably have them. I'd like to have them released.”
Trump said he’s “not a believer in email” and sends them “almost never.”
“I’m not an email person, myself,” Trump said.