As allegations swirl that the Russians were responsible for hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s emails, Republican Nominee Donald Trump clarified his relationship with the Russian President.
“I never met Putin I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me. He said I’m a genius, I said thank you very much to the newspaper and that was the end of it,” said Trump on Wednesday during a press conference in Doral Florida.
As for the hacking incident, Trump said: “Russia if you are listening I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” He also said China could also be responsible.
Following Trumps comments, the Clinton campaign released the following statement: "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. 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," Hillary for America Senior Policy Advisor Jake Sullivan said.
"The first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage." pic.twitter.com/bpJjsvAVlU— Laura Rosenberger (@rosenbergerlm) July 27, 2016
These latest comments on the former KGB agent signal Trump may establish a fresh relationship with the country if elected.
“I would treat Vladimir Putin firmly but there’s nothing I can think of that I’d rather do than have Russia friendly as opposed to the way they are right now so that we can go and knock out ISIS together with other people and with other countries, ” he said.
This is not the first time the real-estate mogul has mentioned the controversial leader. During a FOX Business interview last year, Trump said he would meet with Putin if elected.
“I actually think he is somebody that can be dealt with. I think his dislike of President Obama is so intense that it really has affected the whole relationship. We've driven them into the arms of China, so that now these two are together, which has always been the great sin. Don't ever let Russia and China get together. We've driven them together. I think he is somebody that I would have a very decent relationship with if I ever win,” he told Maria Bartiromo.
Earlier this week, during an interview with NBC News, President Obama was asked about Trump’s leanings towards Russia.
“What i do know is Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Putin.”
When asked about the DNC’s hacking, Obama said, “I think the FBI is still investigating I know experts have attributed it to the Russians. What we do know is the Russians hack our systems not just government systems but private systems.”