Booker Threatens Trump Over Russian Hacker Comments

| by Nik Bonopartis
New Jersey Sen. Cory BookerNew Jersey Sen. Cory Booker

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker says he's looking at "appropriate actions" against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for his comments beseeching Russian hackers to release missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state.

Booker, who was on the shortlist to join Clinton's ticket as her vice presidential running mate, made the vague comments July 28 on Joe Madison's "The Black Eagle" show on SiriusXM, according to The Hill.

"I'm already in conversations about this. I want to assess what the options are," Booker said. "So I want to find out what the appropriate actions will be ... I’m looking forward to sort of getting into more of the details and understanding the full nature of what he was saying, as well as what the implications are and what my options are in office."

It's not clear if Booker was talking about a possible criminal probe. Booker does not have authority to launch criminal investigations and has no direct control over law enforcement or U.S. intelligence apparatus.

For his part, Trump says he was being sarcastic when he called on unnamed Russian hackers to release the 31,830 emails that Clinton's attorneys allegedly permanently deleted from her personal, unsecured email servers before she handed the servers over to the FBI.

While FBI Director James Comey said Clinton's lawyers deleted the emails in such a way that they could not be forensically recovered, and said it's more than likely that hackers helped themselves to the content's of those unsecured servers. No one knows if the deleted emails were ever accessed or copied by a third party.

Those emails are separate from the trove of emails released on July 22 by WikiLeaks, which came from the servers of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC emails revealed party leaders, including DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, actively worked to undermine Clinton's primary opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. They also reveal how the DNC pressured reporters and media outlets to cover Clinton more favorably.

As the fallout threatened to disrupt the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, party leaders and Clinton surrogates sought to distract the media narrative from the content of the emails by floating the theory that the Russian government was in league with Trump.

On July 27, Trump said that if Russian hackers have copies of the State Department emails, they should release them. He made a similar statement on his Twitter account the same day.

"If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton's 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!" the GOP candidate tweeted.

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told CBS News that his group has more documents to release, and suggested additional troves will be made publicly available, but did not specify when.

Booker told Madison that Trump's statements should disqualify him from becoming president.

"This alone should be outrageous enough to see what this person is capable of, what would he be like if he was sitting in the most powerful position on the planet Earth?" Booker asked. "What would his reaction be to inciting violence, to inciting a conflict, to inciting illegal action from the presidency? This is very disturbing."

Sources: The Hill, Donald J. Trump/Twitter, CBS News / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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