Donald Trump Says He Hopes Russia Hacked Hillary Clinton's Emails

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In a news conference in Florida today, Donald J. Trump, a man who is running for what is arguably the most powerful job on the earth, challenged Russia to hack into opponent Hillary Clinton’s email. During the press conference, Trump responded to a question by saying that "it’s probably not [Russia], nobody knows who it is." But he gleefully expounded on the implications of a Russian hack. "If they hacked, they probably have [Clinton’s] 33,000 emails. I hope they do," he said, as quoted by Talking Points Memo. "They probably have her 33,000 emails that she lost and deleted."

“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 roughly 30,000 emails that Clinton deleted from the private mail server she used as secretary of state, claiming that they were personal and unrelated to official business. A small number of these deleted emails have been recovered from other sources and publicly released by the State Department, along with tens of thousands of work-related messages.

So, to be clear, Donald Trump hopes that a foreign power has intercepted private State Department communications. There are legitimate, major problems with Clinton’s use of a private mail server, but he is actively hoping for the worst-case scenario to come true, effectively because it would politically damage his opponent.

""If they have them, they have them.""
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Shortly after Trump’s comments, his running mate Mike Pence issued a more politically acceptable statement. "The FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking," he wrote, as quoted by The Guardian.

US officials have said that Russia is most likely responsible for the recent security breach in which hackers accessed a cache of internal emails from the Democratic National Convention. WikiLeaks released the trove of documents last week.

Trump himself has denied that he was somehow involved in the hack, which has been floated as a possible attack on the 2016 election process itself.

Whether or not the comment was made in jest, a possibility given Trump’s miserable attempts at humor and something resembling a smirk visible in video of the moment, it’s doesn’t quite hit the mark, given that he’s now expressly encouraged a powerful country with a nut job leader to hack into the email of a US presidential candidate.

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