Donald Trump stood before the media on Wednesday and, when asked about the leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee, encouraged Russia to do more.
"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing," he said. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens."
The cyberattack that broke into the Democratic National Committee and released emails to Wikileaks has been traced back to Russian hackers. This has sparked suspicion that it was the work of the Vladimir Putin-led government, which perhaps sees Trump as a more Russia-friendly leader than Hillary Clinton.
Trump later had a tense exchange with NBC reporter Katy Tur about the comment, telling her to "be quiet."
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) July 27, 2016
The statement immediately drew criticism for appearing to encourage a foreign government to attack a U.S political party.
Trump right now: "I may have committed some, uh, light... treason." pic.twitter.com/7fiEOphLO7
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) July 27, 2016
Speculation on Trump's ties to Russia and Vladimir Putin has been swirling since Talking Points Memo published a breakdown of his business relationships with Russian oligarchs and dealings with people like campaign advisor Paul Manafort, who previously served as a communications advisor for a former pro-Russia prime minister of Ukraine.
Wikileaks and Russia have both denied the country's involvement in the leaks, but security professionals within the U.S. government and in the private sector have found evidence to show that the country was behind the email theft.
Shortly after the press conference ended, Trump tweeted, doubling down on the sentiments he previously expressed.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2016
See the Clinton campaign's response to the press conference: