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Trump to Russia:Uncover Clinton Emails 07/28 06:09

   After Donald Trump encouraged Russia to find and make public missing emails 
deleted by his presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton, an instant debate 
exploded over hacking and his urging of a foreign government to meddle in 
American politics.

   WASHINGTON (AP) --After Donald Trump encouraged Russia to find and make 
public missing emails deleted by his presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton, an 
instant debate exploded over hacking and his urging of a foreign government to 
meddle in American politics.

   Shortly after Trump's extraordinary remarks Wednesday, his Republican 
running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, took a different tack and warned of 
"serious consequences" if Russia interfered in the election.

   Democrats --- and some Republicans --- quickly condemned the remarks by the 
Republican presidential standard-bearer.

   They came as the Democrats met on the third day of their national convention 
in Philadelphia, where Clinton will accept the presidential nomination Thursday 
night to face Republican Trump in November.

   Trump's comments raised the question of whether he was condoning foreign 
government hacking of U.S. computers and the public release of information 
stolen from political adversaries --- actions that are at least publicly 
frowned upon across the globe. His brief remarks managed to divert attention 
from an embarrassing leak of other hacked emails that exposed sensitive 
internal political communications that had divided Democrats.

   "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails 
that are missing," Trump said. He was referring to emails on Clinton's private 
server that she said she deleted --- because they were private --- before 
turning other messages over to the State Department. The Justice Department 
declined to prosecute Clinton over her email practices, but FBI Director James 
Comey called her "extremely careless" in handling classified information as 
President Barack Obama's secretary of state.

   The Clinton campaign called Trump's statement the "first time that a major 
presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct 
espionage against a political opponent."

   At a news conference in Doral, Florida, after Trump's initial remarks, he 
was asked whether he had any qualms about asking a foreign government to hack 
into computers in the United States. Trump did not directly respond except to 
say, "That's up to the president. Let the president talk to them."

   He later added: "If Russia or China or any other country has those emails, I 
mean, to be honest with you, I'd love to see them."

   Trump's invitation was immediately contradicted by his running mate. Pence 
condemned any possible cyberespionage, breaking from Trump for the first time 
since being selected to run with him.

   "If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you 
both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious 
consequences," Pence said in a statement.

   At the convention, Leon Panetta, former CIA director and defense secretary, 
blasted Trump's remarks, saying that Trump is "asking a U.S. adversary to 
engage in hacking or intelligence efforts against the United States of America 
to affect an election."

   Stephen Miller, senior policy adviser for Trump, battled back, saying in a 
statement: "It is alarming that Leon Panetta would, through his silence, excuse 
Hillary Clinton's enablement of foreign espionage with her illegal email scheme 
and her corrupt decision to then destroy those emails and dissemble her 
'private' server to hide her crimes from the public and authorities."

   Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said 
bluntly: "Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay 
out of this election."

   A Trump campaign communications adviser, Jason Miller, sought to clarify 
Trump's statements, saying on Twitter that Trump never urged or invited Russia 
to hack Clinton's emails. Instead, he said, Trump was "clearly saying" that if 
Russia or anyone else already had Clinton's deleted emails they should share 
them with the FBI.

   Trump never mentioned the FBI in his comments.

   It was not immediately clear where or how Clinton's deleted emails might be 
recovered, unless an adversary had previously hacked the computer server she 
operated in the basement of her home in Chappaqua, New York, before she had 
deleted the messages.

   The Associated Press, which discovered the basement server's existence in 
March 2015, previously reported that it was connected to the internet in ways 
that made it more vulnerable to hackers. The FBI concluded it was possible 
hackers broke into her server but found no direct evidence.

   Wednesday's exchange occurred hours after Obama identified Russia as almost 
certainly responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee in a 
different case. WikiLeaks published on its website last week more than 19,000 
internal emails stolen from the DNC earlier this year. The emails showed DNC 
staffers supporting Clinton when they were publicly promising to remain neutral 
during the primary elections between Sen. Bernie Sanders and her.

   The head of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned over the disclosures.

   Trump cast doubt on whether Russia was behind that hack. He said blaming 
Russia was deflecting attention from the embarrassing material in the emails.

   "Russia has no respect for our country, if it is Russia," Trump said. "It 
could be China. It could be someone sitting in his bedroom. It's probably not 
Russia. Nobody knows if it's Russia."

   Obama traditionally avoids commenting on active FBI investigations, but he 
told NBC News on Tuesday that outside experts have blamed Russia for the leak. 
Obama also appeared to embrace the notion that President Vladimir Putin might 
have been responsible because of what he described as Trump's affinity for 
Putin. Trump said he has no relationship with Putin.

   In Moscow on Wednesday, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Russia would 
never interfere in another country's election.

   Trump's comments were not the first time he urged hackers to release 
information to damage a political opponent.

   He tweeted in September 2014 about one of his favorite topics--- Obama's 
birthplace.

   "Attention all hackers: You are hacking everything else so please hack 
Obama's college records (destroyed?) and check 'place of birth,'" Trump wrote.


(KA)

 
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