Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said in a press conference that he hopes Russia hacked Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's email server and will release more of its contents to the public.
"Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," said Trump directly to the cameras, according to The New York Times. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."
U.S. intelligence officials have confirmed that Russian hackers were behind the massive release of over 20,000 DNC emails that showed party members favored Hillary Clinton to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination over Bernie Sanders. The hack was the first of the so-called "Hillary leaks" series, which indicates that more stolen information may be released in the near future.
Although the Clinton campaign believes the hack occurred to influence the presidential election and help Donald Trump win the election, experts disagree. Hackers were in the DNC server for over a year, long before it was clear that Trump would win the Republican presidential nomination, according to CBS.
But Trump's encouragement of cyber spying and the hacking of Clinton's emails may show that he will use the hack to his political advantage. Clinton deleted over 30,000 allegedly personal emails from her private email account, according to CNN. All work-related emails have been turned over to the State Department for review.
When asked if Trump was really encouraging a foreign nation to hack into Clinton's private email server, he dismissed the question entirely, telling the female reporter to "be quiet" and that the matter is "up to the president."
The Clinton campaign was quick to chastise Trump's remarks, accusing him of encouraging foreign espionage.
"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," said Jake Sullivan, chief foreign policy adviser for the Clinton campaign. "This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue."
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, also slammed Trump for his comments, according to The Times.
"Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug," Buck said. "Putin should stay out of this election."