The broad outlines of Friday’s indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, charging 12 Russians with conspiracy, identity theft, and money laundering in connection with hacking during the 2016 presidential election, are not surprising. The hacking of the Democratic National Committee has been public knowledge since July 2016, and even then, the authorities publicly stated that the perpetrators were Russian government officials. Other details, such as the apparent involvement of WikiLeaks and Trump adviser Roger Stone, were also known. Some of the details, however, are striking.
On July 27, 2016, at a Trump press conference in Florida, the candidate referred to 33,000 emails that an aide to Hillary Clinton had deleted from the former secretary of state’s personal email server. The DNC had recently announced the Russian intrusion, and Trump speculated that if Russia broke into the DNC, it would have accessed Clinton’s emails, too.
“By the way, if they hacked, they probably have her 33,000 emails,” Trump said. “I hope they do. They probably have her 33,000 emails that she lost and deleted. Because you’d see some beauties there.”
That was perhaps irresponsible speculation, but it wasn’t crazy. There were widespread questions about Clinton’s information security, and whether she might have compromised government secrets. But a few minutes later Trump said something much stranger.
“I will tell you this: Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
The president was encouraging a foreign adversary to illegally hack into messages by a former secretary of state that might contain sensitive information, then release them publicly.
Trump had good reason to believe that Russia was listening. The previous month, his son, Donald Jr.; son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, had a meeting …read more
Via:: The Atlantic