Clinton team: Don’t let Trump off the hook for Russia remarks
© Getty Images
 
Speaking to reporters at a press briefing Thursday, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri said reporters must take Trump’s remarks seriously and called for the GOP presidential nominee to be held “accountable.”
 
ADVERTISEMENT
“Suggesting that a foreign country, in this case a semi-hostile state to the United States, conduct espionage against an opponent running for the president of the United States is not sarcastic,” Palmieri said. 
 
“It’s never a joke. It’s something that we should all take seriously. You should take that seriously because he’s the … Republicans’ nominee to be president, and we should hold him accountable for those words.”
 
Palmieri did not say how Trump should be held accountable.
 
At a luncheon with reporters on Wednesday, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said “experts” should examine Trump’s remarks but stopped short of calling for a criminal probe or federal investigation of any kind.
 
Trump ignited controversy Wednesday when he called on the Russian hackers believed to have stolen a trove of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails to do the same for the emails Clinton deleted from a personal server from her time as secretary of State.
 
In a Wednesday night interview on Fox News, Trump said he was being “sarcastic” and accused the Clinton campaign of trying to “deflect” from the content of the hacked emails.
 
Wikilieaks posted the DNC emails, which showed party officials discussing plans to undermine Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAlan Dershowitz: In defense of Chelsea Clinton O'Rourke: Decisions on late-term abortions 'best left to a woman and her doctor' CNN to host town hall with Cory Booker in South Carolina MORE’s campaign. The ensuing controversy led to DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation on the eve of the Democratic National Convention.
 
Wikileaks has said it will release more Democratic emails in the future. Founder Julian Assange appears intent on damaging Clinton, the Democratic nominee, in her general election fight against Trump.
 
Clinton has been briefed on the DNC breach, which intelligence officials believe to be the work of Russian hackers.
 
Palmieri on Thursday said reporters must take Trump’s call for the Russians to hack Clinton’s email “seriously,” despite the GOP nominee’s attempt to walk back the remarks.
 
“It’s the first time in modern history that we’ve presumably had a foreign power seek to engage in influencing our election,” she said. “There’s a lot of questions that all of you should consider very seriously, such as Mr. Trump’s view that we should weaken our alliances against Russia, the [Republican National Committee] platform choosing in this year to take away language supportive of Ukraine and express concerns about Russia’s involvement there and Mr. Trump’s own disturbing affinity for Mr. Putin. And of course there are financial interests.”
 
“This is not a curiosity anymore, this is not about politics,” Palmieri continued. “It’s a concern of national security and it’s something that is concerning to Americans and that all of you should take very seriously.”