Donald Trump stated that he would be a great unifier, and it seems like, in this instance, he may have been telling the truth, as leaders and lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle unite in condemnation of his recent comments.
On Wednesday, Trump made headlines after stating that he hoped the Russian intelligence services suspected to be behind the DNC email hack were able to access Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s emails. He then encouraged them to publish anything they may find, which, as the New York Times reported, is “essentially urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyberespionage against a former secretary of state.” It was, in effect, an open encouragement to Russia, by Donald Trump, who is already under fire for suspiciously close ties with that country.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
National security experts and lawmakers, both Democratic and Republican, were swift to condemn Donald Trump’s open call to Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email. Some state that Trump’s rhetoric, whether he truly intends for Russia to do his bidding through espionage, has already done damage to America’s global standing. Others have not just strongly condemned his remarks, but state further that he is an actual threat to national security.
Donald Trump has turned Republicans into the party of Russia: https://t.co/SwJYVy6xMn
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) July 28, 2016
Other lawmakers believe that Trump’s open invitation to Russia is “tantamount to treason.”
For Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Trump’s Russian request is simply the most recent in a long string of dangerous statements coming from the GOP nominee.
“It’s just one more example of the reckless and dangerous comments that Donald Trump makes that compromises American foreign policy objectives.”
Former CIA director Leon Panetta was also openly critical of Trump’s recent statements, saying that Trump’s comments to Russia were “beyond the pale,” since he was, in essence, requesting that a foreign country openly engage in American politics. He later called Trump’s remarks an actual “threat to our national security.”
An aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has endorsed Donald Trump, called Russia a “global menace led by a devious thug.” However, Speaker Ryan’s endorsement of Donald Trump still stands.
Other Republicans have been more open in their concern, particularly those who served in a security capacity.
— Slate (@Slate) July 28, 2016
William Inboden, who once served on George W. Bush’s National Security Council, told Politico in an interview that Trump’s comments were “an assault on the constitution.” Michael Hayden, the former head of the National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency under George W. Bush, as well, said in an interview with Buzzfeed that what Trump said was “incredibly stunning” and “very dangerous.”
Philip Reiner, who served in the Obama administration, also as National Security Council official, was even harsher in his critique of Trump, calling him a “scumbag animal,” and confirming that he is a national security threat.
“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.”
The Trump campaign has hastened to try and excuse the statement as a joke, but even if it was a bad attempt at humor, it still is seen as a risk, as well as a blow to America’s global image, even if not intentionally treasonous. As Politico reports, whether or not Trump’s dangerous comments will actually meet the legal definition of treason is unlikely to be explored, but it’s worth noting that Republicans themselves are applying the word to their own presidential nominee, underscoring the deep concern that everyone should have regarding national security, and just how badly Donald Trump will damage it — and our standing in the world.
[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]