Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday said he "would love to have the power" to have been behind the recently leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and invited Russia to find Hillary Clinton's missing emails.
In making the latter statement, the New York Times reports, Trump was "essentially encouraging an adversarial foreign power's cyberspying on a secretary of state's correspondence."
Speaking at press conference in Doral, Florida, Trump said if Russia was behind the DNC leaks, "they probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do ... because you'd see some beauties there. So let's see."
He then references an interview Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook gave in which he asserted—and was challenged—that Russia was behind the hack and did so to help Trump's campaign. According to Trump, Mook also said the Republican nominee himself may have been behind the attack. (The transcript of the interview offers no evidence of that.)
"It's so far-fetched. It's so ridiculous. Honestly, I wish I had that power. I'd love to have that power." Later on, Trump says that "it's probably China or it could be somebody sitting in his bed" behind the leaks.
Trump also took to Twitter to reiterate his message:
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
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Later during the press conference, he says, "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."
According to the Miami Herald, later, "When a female reporter asked Trump whether he was encouraging Russia to hack into emails, Trump snapped back: 'Be quiet. I know you want to save her,' a reference to Clinton."
The Clinton campaign denounced Trump's statements.
"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 Clinton's senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan. "That's not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue."
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), asked to respond to the development, told MSNBC's Thomas Roberts she believes what Trump stated at his press conference "borders on treasonous."