In the summer before the 2016 presidential election, then-Republican candidate Donald Trump made an unusual request to Russian hackers to find deleted emails from his Democratic Party opponent Hillary Clinton.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said in July 2016, per reporting from the New York Times. On that very day, Russian hackers did indeed try to infiltrate Clinton’s personal email servers.
Apparently, so, too, did the Trump campaign itself.
According to the recently released Mueller report, Trump, after the campaign rally where he made the request, ordered members of his campaign staff to try and get Clinton’s emails themselves.
“Trump asked individuals affiliated with his Campaign to find the deleted Clinton emails,” the report states.
It wasn’t just a one-time deal, either: Trump made the request “repeatedly,” according to Michael Flynn, who cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation. Flynn, who would go on to become Trump’s first national security adviser, “subsequently contacted multiple people” to try and get the Clinton emails.
Other members of Trump’s campaign had also already been making attempts to find Clinton’s deleted emails, per the Mueller report’s findings, prior to Trump’s statement in July 2016.
One could be forgiven for making a comparison of Trump attempting to break into Clinton’s email servers to the break-in of DNC offices at the Watergate Hotel by operatives of President Richard Nixon (and indeed, Clinton did make that comparison during the campaign). Trump, however, as recently as last month, said that he wasn’t serious about the matter, claiming that he was just making a joke about doing so.
During a rally in March, Trump complained that he gets scrutinized too much for his off-the-cuff comments.
“If you tell a joke, if you’re sarcastic, if you’re having fun with the audience, if you’re on live television with millions of people and 25,000 people in an arena,” he said, per reporting from CNN. “If you say something like, ‘Russia, please, if you can, get us Hillary Clinton’s emails. Please, Russia, please. Please get us the emails. Please!'”
It appears that within the findings of the Mueller report, however, Trump’s words from that recent rally are contradicted — it wasn’t simply the joking matter that the president made it out to be, if the report is to be believed.
What's Your Reaction?
Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.