While accusations fly about the Trump campaign having a secret deal with Vladimir Putin to help him get elected in exchange for concessions to Russia, Trump is unafraid to throw a canister of jet fuel on the raging fire.
At a presser in Miami, Trump trolled the media hard with a clear reference to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's missing emails:
“Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
Then the GOP presidential nominee doubled down with praise for Putin—and a shot at President Barack Obama:
Trump's comments come after the Hillary campaign pointed the finger at Russia for a hack of the DNC. A subsequent email leak courtesy of Wikileaks led to the resignation of former Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz just days before the Democratic convention.
“Experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, [and are] releasing these emails for the purpose of helping Donald Trump,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The New York Times reports of a growing intelligence community consensus that Russian operatives are behind the DNC hack. Wikileaks chief Julian Assange, currently under asylum in Ecuador, denied any connection between his organization and Russia.
The Trump campaign's unusually cozy relationship with the Russian autocrat has been raising eyebrows across the political spectrum.
On Trump's side, he's hired advisers with close ties to the former KGB Colonel and current Russian President, such as Paul Manafort and former Gazprom executive Carter Page, developed an unusually critical stance on NATO, and called for gutting military aid to Ukraine.
Wikileaks' head Julian Assange is also being accused of Russian ties by such figures as former spymaster John Schindler. In an extensive piece in the New York Observer, Schindler lays out the case that Russian hacking rings “Fancy Bear” and “Cozy Bear” were behind the hacked DNC emails that made their way to Wikileaks.
“Plainly, what you are saying, what you are publishing, hurts Hillary Clinton. Would you prefer Trump to be president?” interviewer Robert Peston bluntly asked at one point.
Assange stated that while he found a potential Trump presidency “completely unpredictable,” he lambasted Hillary Clinton as a “war hawk” and claimed that her views on freedom of the press were problematic.
When Assange was asked about the FBI investigation that was ongoing at the time of the interview, he remarked that there was “enough evidence” sufficient for an indictment of Mrs. Clinton.
But he added that any Department of Justice spearheaded by Loretta Lynch would refuse to proceed with charges:
“We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton, which is great, WikiLeaks has a very big year ahead. We have emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication, that is correct.”
Whether or not that includes the “30,000 missing emails” Trump is calling for is something many people would definitely like to find out.