Russia Snubs Trump Over Invitation to Hack Into Hillary’s Emails
Trump said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump invited Russia on Wednesday to uncover and release thousands of emails that his rival and Democratic counterpart Hillary Clinton did not hand over to US officials as part of a probe into the use of her private email system.
Russia, if you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.Donald Trump
In response to Trump’s suggestion, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “more than once has said that Russia would never interfere and does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, especially in the electoral process”.
The Kremlin also dismissed allegations that Russia had hacked Democratic Party emails as “horror stories” dreamt up by US politicians.
Trump’s remarks drew flak from several quarters, leaving cyber security experts, Democrats and lawmakers stunned, flabbergasted and appalled.
Trump Tries to Woo Russia
Separately, Trump dismissed any suggestion that Russia was behind the theft and release of embarrassing Democratic Party emails made public last week.
“It is so far-fetched, it’s so ridiculous,” Trump said, suggesting that China or some other party could be involved.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday brushed aside accusations that Moscow was behind the hacking of Democratic Party emails.
Those emails were the subject of an FBI probe that found no basis for criminal charges despite FBI Director James Comey saying Clinton was “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information.
Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the intelligence committee, said that Trump’s behavior “wouldn’t be believable if he was a character on House of Cards”, much less the Republican nominee for president.
Trump goes out of his way to praise Vladimir Putin, he advocates pro-Russian foreign policy positions. Anyone who cares about US national security should be truly alarmed about the possibility that this man could be our president.
Clinton Accuses Trump of Encouraging Espionage
Responding to the comments, Jake Sullivan, Hillary’s chief foreign policy adviser accused Trump of encouraging Russia to meddle in the domestic politics of the US.
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.
Robby Mook, Hillary’s campaign manager, suggested that Trump was going into unchartered territory with his remarks.
Trump Supporters Jump to Defend Him
Jason Miller, a campaign spokesman, took to Twitter to clarify Trump’s comments.
Trump’s running mate, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, said any hacking by Russia should not be tolerated, but he also faulted the Democrats.
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.
Republican Pete Hoekstra supported Trump and said:
Trump is bringing up a fairly valid point: Hillary Clinton, with her personal email at the State Department, has put the Russians in a very enviable position.
From ‘Reckless’ to ‘Treason’: Critics Take on Trump
“It’s just one more example of the reckless and dangerous comments that Donald Trump makes that compromises American foreign policy objectives,” said Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Philip Reiner, a former National Security Council official in the Obama administration, called Trump a “scumbag animal.”
Hacking email is a criminal activity. And he’s asked a foreign government – a murderous, repressive regime – to attack not just one of our citizens but the Democratic presidential candidate? Of course it’s a national security threat.
Retired US admiral James Stavridis said Trump’s comments were “shocking and dangerous.”
For William Inboden, who served on the NSC during the George W Bush administration, said Trump’s comments were “tantamount to treason.”
Clinton, due on Thursday to accept the Democratic Party nomination, will face Trump in the 8 November election. She kept a private system for her emails at her New York home while serving as Secretary of State from 2009-2013.
(With Reuters inputs)
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