During a press conference during the third day of the Democratic National Convention, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump decided to have a little fun at Hillary Clinton’s expense. He stated, “Russia, if you're listening I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” He was referring to emails that Clinton had deleted from her unsecured server that she called "personal."

The reaction on both sides of the political divide was swift and sharp. Clinton policy adviser Jake Sullivan suggested that this was the first time a major political candidate asked a foreign power to conduct espionage against a political rival.

House Speaker Paul Ryan spokesman Brenden Buck called Russia a “global menace” and suggested that Putin stay out of the American presidential election.

Trump’s critics are being somewhat disingenuous. Hillary Clinton’s private email server where the missing 30,000 emails were located has been offline for months and is in the custody of the FBI. Most cyber security experts believe that the server was likely hacked by quite a number of parties, including Russia, when Clinton was using it to store and transmit classified information.

Therefore Trump could not be suborning Russia to commit espionage on Clinton. He later expanded his remarks by suggesting that if Russia or anyone else has the missing emails, they should hand them over to the FBI.

In any case, a politician asking Russia to intervene against a political rival is not without precedence. The opening of the Soviet archives revealed that in 1984 then Sen. Teddy Kennedy approached Soviet leader Yuri Andropov to ask for help in defeating then President Ronald Reagan for reelection.

Kennedy was an opponent of Reagan’s policy that eventually won the Cold War. By a strict definition, the senator could be said to have committed treason. However, he was not charged not to mention placed on trial.

In any case, no evidence exists that Trump has had any direct contact with Putin or anyone in the Russian government concerning Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Trump accomplished several things from what appears to be a successful attempt to troll the Clinton campaign.

He has driven, at least to some extent, the Democratic National Convention off the news. To be sure he is getting criticized, but that is something that he is used to and seems impervious to. He is forcing the media to not only talk about the unsecured email server but the fact that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee emails and revealed, through Wikileaks, that the DNC was plotting against Bernie Sanders on Clinton's behalf, something that has infuriated Sanders supporters.

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