President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE on Saturday suggested that he was speaking sarcastically when he said in the run-up to the 2016 election that he hoped Russia found Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way The dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE's deleted emails.
Trump's remark at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) prompted a chant of "Lock her up" from attendees at the event in National Harbor, Md., just outside Washington.
The president lamented that he couldn't joke without upsetting the media while facetiously reiterating his past comments inviting Russia to find Clinton's deleted emails.
“I’ve learned, because with the fake news, if you tell a joke, if you’re sarcastic, if you’re having fun with the audience,” he said, “If you say something like ‘Russia, please if you can, get us Hillary Clinton’s emails, please, Russia, please, please get us the emails.”
The crowd cheered enthusiastically and chanted "lock her up."
Trump goads the crowd into booing "the fake news," then suggests he was just being sarcastic when he called for Russian hackers to go after Hillary Clinton's emails during a 2016 news conference.— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 2, 2019
The crowd responds with "lock her up!" chants pic.twitter.com/kuCu61UgMr
Trump was referencing a press conference in July 2016 when he addressed Russia directly, stating, "Russia, if you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by the press."
Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE is currently investigating whether Russia interfered in the 2016 elections, including whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.
Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen testified before Congress on Wednesday and said that Trump's former informal adviser Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneOath Keeper charges renew attention on Trump orbit Democrats differ over how Biden should handle Jan. 6 anniversary Alex Jones suing Pelosi and Jan. 6 panel, planning to plead the Fifth MORE had informed Trump in advance of WikiLeak's release of hacked Democratic emails in the summer of 2016.
"Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign," Cohen testified, referring to the founder of WikiLeaks.
“Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of ‘wouldn’t that be great,’” Cohen added.
Both Stone and WikiLeaks denied Cohen's account.
CPAC is an annual gathering of conservative activists that features high-profile speakers. Many conservative university students attend the event.