July 28, 2016 – Media pundits are scrambling to find adjectives (and precedent) in the aftermath of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s most recent public statements. Holding a press conference on the second day of the Democratic National Convention, the reality show personality seemed to invite the intelligence services of a foreign government to do some opposition research on his political adversary, Democratic Party presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton:
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing, I think you’ll be rewarded mightily by our press.”
As many in the GOP scrambled, Trump doubled-down on Twitter:
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!
The comment was made in reference to the leaking of thousands of emails from the servers operated by the Democratic National Committee. Among them was evidence that the DNC heavily favored Clinton over her primary opponent, Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders. The fallout from the email leak created turmoil inside the Democratic party establishment resulting in the resignation of the former party chair on the eve of the convention.
The uproar over what some Sanders supporters characterized as a betrayal was soon dwarfed by the consternation over Trump’s direct address to the Russian government at the height of a domestic political campaign. Among questions of decorum many current and former members of the government and intelligence services wondered if Trump’s actions represent not only an ethical but also perhaps a legal breach. Article Three of the US constitution reads: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”
A spokesman for the Trump campaign flatly denied that the candidate called for his opponent to be targeted for cyberespionage by a geopolitical rival of the United States despite the candidate having done so at a press conference organized on his behalf at a podium surrounded by cameras. The statement was consistent with Trump’s seeming willingness to either openly praise or avoid publicly criticizing Russia’s authoritarian president, Vladimir Putin. When asked to clarify his remarks the real estate mogul-turned political firebrand stated that he merely suggested that Russia turn over whatever materials they have to the FBI and dismissed any allegations that he had any ties, financial or otherwise, to the Russian government.
Meanwhile, GOP stalwart New Gingrich came to Trump’s defense arguing that the comment was just a joke:
The media seems more upset by Trump’s joke about Russian hacking than by the fact that Hillary’s personal server was vulnerable to Russia — Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) July 27, 2016
You make the call – Is Donald Trump’s invitation to Russia Funny or Offensive? Vote and Comment below…