Trump Invites Putin to Commit Espionage
Just as Trump tries to shake off the allegations of his ties to Russia, Trump again says something to have Americans questioning his loyalty.
In another free-wheeling speech, Trump basically said that he hopes that Russia would commit espionage against the United States.
Specifically, he wants the Russians to retrieve Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails to make her look bad in the election.
Key figures in American intelligence have already decried his statements as a threat to national security.
Trump has expressed admiration for Putin’s leadership in the past, and Putin has called him “brilliant.”
There have been recent claims by the democrats that Trump and Putin are connected. This latest comment from Trump does not help his denial.
In a speech in Florida, Trump was discussing the email scandal, and the 33,000 missing Clinton emails. He said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the thirty thousand emails that are missing. I think that you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Make no mistake, Trump is advocating espionage by a foreign entity against the Government of the United States. These emails are not just Hillary Clinton’s personal emails, they are sensitive and classified government documents. And Trump has just advocated for Russia to find them!
We all agree that what Hillary Clinton did was wrong. She acted foolishly, and should be held responsible for that. But asking a foreign country, who is one of our enemies, to engage in espionage to find these emails is unacceptable.
These comments immediately drew criticism from intelligence leaders:
Leon Panetta, the former director of the CIA, blasted Trump during a speech on Wednesday, saying “Today, Donald Trump once again took Russia’s side…He asked the Russians to interfere in American politics. Think about that for a moment. Donald Trump, who wants to be president of the United States, is asking one of our adversaries to engage in hacking or intelligence efforts against the United States to affect our election.”
Former Ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul said “I just find it deeply troubling that any American, let alone one running for president of the United States, would encourage Russian espionage. That’s just, is unprecedented to me.”
Trump was defended by members of his party, with both Newt Gingrich and Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, saying that his comments were intended as a joke, and that what he meant was that if Russia was involved, they should turn those emails over to the FBI. In an interview, Manafort said “First of all, he didn’t encourage anybody to hack…He was making a sarcastic point about those 33,000 missing emails.”
Trump quickly rolled back his comments by later tweeting:
If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton's 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2016
What are his real motivations?
What is really funny is that he advocates disclosing the emails to the FBI, when just weeks ago the FBI announced that there would be no charges in the Clinton email scandal and he said that the result was a “miscarriage of justice”. Now he wants more emails turned over to the same people?
What he really wants from this is for Clinton to be tried in the court of public opinion over the email scandal. That way, he gets more attention, and she looks bad in the election.
Trump is also looking for an ally in Putin, who is another bold figure like himself. As Obama has said, “Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin.” Trump said Wednesday that he would be “looking at” recognizing Crimea as Russian territory if he were president. And he has previously expressed hesitation about the need for NATO, which is America’s main defense against Russia. It is clear that he would be more open to more Russian-American relations than any post-Cold War president. Trump has in the past said about Putin, “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader. You know, unlike we have in this country.” Putin has in turn referred to Trump as “brilliant.” It looks like they may end up allies after all.
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