Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to state that he hopes Russia has Hillary Clinton’s emails so they can give them to the FBI.
Donald Trump wrote this after encouraging Russia to find Hillary’s emails while speaking at a campaign event in Florida.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said, according to the New York Times. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Trump is referring to the roughly 30,000 emails Hillary Clinton deleted from her private server that were deemed personal. Many saw Donald Trump’s statement as him inviting Russia to breach the United States’ cybersecurity, and he has received much criticism for the statement.
“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,” said Jake Sullivan, Hillary Clinton’s chief foreign policy adviser. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”
The statement is all the more controversial after Wikileaks released documents that showed some Democratic Party officials appearing to be against Bernie Sanders being the candidate. Many have claimed the documents were likely obtained by a Russian hacker. Some believe it is Russia attempting to help Donald Trump get elected.
Donald Trump also refused to say that Vladimir Putin should stay out of U.S. elections.
“I’m not going to tell Putin what to do,” Mr. Trump said. “Why should I tell Putin what to do?”
Some are going as far to say that what Donald Trump said was treasonous, and #treason started trending on Twitter after Trump made his statements. Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas School of Law, said it’s not technically treason, but it could be a violation of 18 U.S. Code § 373(a).
That code says a citizen cannot solicit, command, or induce someone to use “physical force” against property or a person in violation of the law.
“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,” vice presidential candidate Mike Pence said of Donald Trump’s statements.
Paul Ryan also commented on Russia’s possible actions after what Trump said.
“Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug,” Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck told the Guardian. “Putin should stay out of this election.”
“I find those kinds of comments to be totally outrageous,” said Leon Panetta, a former secretary of defense and director of central intelligence in the Obama administration, according to the Huffington Post. “You’ve got now a presidential candidate who is in fact asking the Russians to engage in American politics. I just think that is beyond the pale.”
It remains unclear what other information may have been taken by the hackers who got into the Democratic Party’s servers, but Wikileaks has stated it has more documents to release in the future. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told CNN there is “a lot more material” that will be released. He would not comment on who had given Wikileaks the information.
“Perhaps one day the source or sources will step forward and that might be an interesting moment some people may have egg on their faces. But to exclude certain actors is to make it easier to find out who our sources are,” Assange told CNN.
[Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images]