On July 27, during a press conference in Doral, Florida, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump offered a dare to Russia regarding deleted emails from the private account Hillary Clinton used as secretary of State:
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’ll be able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you’ll probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Once more, controversy ensued. CNN political analyst David Gregory was particularly appalled.
“I’ve run out of words to express my shock and how completely beyond the pale that Donald Trump is as a potential leader of the free world, the commander in chief of our country. This was truly beyond the pale. I mean, he is encouraging Russia, which by all accounts was behind the leak of one of our major political parties, to do more, to go beyond, to try to hack into Hillary Clinton’s server to find missing emails to kind of get in the middle of the scandal. It’s as if this is a child playing with matches who doesn’t understand how badly he and the country can get burned.”
At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Vice President Joseph Biden opined:
“Donald Trump, with all his rhetoric, would literally make us less safe. We cannot elect a man who belittles our closest allies while embracing dictators like Vladimir Putin.”
Both men are right to disagree with Trump’s gesture, especially as on July 29, 2016, the New York Times reported that computer systems used by Hillary Clinton’s campaign were hacked, and that federal investigators asserting that the evidence points to “Fancy Bear,” an entity connected to the G.R.U., the Russian military intelligence service. Fortunately, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign reported that the computers’ internal systems were not compromised.
During the same press conference in Florida, Trump claimed:
“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. I never met Putin… Never spoken to him. I don’t know anything about him other than he will respect me. ”
Strangely, in an interview with MSNBC’ Thomas Roberts, conducted in Moscow in 2013 shortly before a Miss Universe Pageant, Trump admitted:
“I do have a relationship, and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today. He’s probably very interested in what you and I are saying today and I’m sure he’s going to be seeing it in some form. But I do have a relationship with him and I think it’s very interesting to see what’s happened. I mean, look. He’s done a very brilliant jobs in terms of what he represents and who he is representing. If you look at what he’s done with Syria, if you look at so many of the different things, he has really eaten our president’s lunch, let’s not kid ourselves.”
Thomas Roberts asked Donald Trump Republican strategist and Trump campaign surrogate Boris Epshteyn about the inconsistency between the two statements, and Epshteyn offered a breathless and hurried attempt at an explanation:
“What was Donald Trump was saying is that there were relationships in terms of Vladimir Putin is following what Donald Trump was talking about. Of course he was in Moscow. Of course the Russian President would notice that somebody of that stature is in Moscow. What he was saying yesterday is that there was no business dealings between him and Vladimir Putin.”
However, it is public knowledge that Donald Trump’s debt load has increased throughout his Presidential campaign, necessitating the sale of $50 million in stocks and bonds and that in the wake of the bankruptcies he brought upon himself in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009, Donald Trump has become increasingly reliant upon money from Russian investors with connections to Vladimir Putin.
There is a lot of speculation and conjecture out there regarding the relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Nonetheless, there is ample room for suspicion to say the least, given the fact that Trump would even joke about giving anybody from Russia, whose President is Vladimir Putin — a man who has been increasingly hostile toward the United States over the years and who suppresses dissent to the extent that people who criticize him in the press are jailed, threatened and even murdered — permission to hack his political rival’s campaign’s computer system should disqualify Trump from the Presidency, especially as such a thing did happen shortly afterward.
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