“Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” Trump said at a campaign stop in Florida Wednesday.
Trump tweeted what was seen as a clarification after the uproar: “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!”
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
In the past, Trump has praised Putin and his leadership. During a November debate, Trump said he and the Russian leader “were stable mates.”
When Trump was asked about Russia’s worldwide aggression during the debate, the billionaire said that about Putin’s actions.
“First of all, it’s not only Russia. We have problems with North Korea, where they actually have nuclear weapons. Nobody talks about it. We talk about Iran and that’s one of the worst deals ever made,” Trump said.
He added: “As far as Syria, I like if Putin wants to go in. I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stable mates, we did well that night.”
Despite that statement, Trump claims he has never met the Russian strongman and denies he has any business deals in the country.
For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2016
In 2013, Trump told Inside Edition, when he staged the Miss Universe contest in Russia, “It's a great place — it's a fantastic country, you know, [I have] many friends in Russia and I’m very excited to be here.”
Sitting next to Trump at a news conference at the time was Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov, who negotiated with the New York real estate tycoon to bring the Miss Universe contest to Moscow.
Agalarov has close ties to Putin, who awarded him Russia’s highest civilian medal.
Trump was working with Agalarov to build another Trump Tower in Moscow. On Wednesday, Trump said the deal didn't work out and he “decided not to do it.”
Conservative columnist George Will, who left the Republican Party because of Trump, believes the GOP presidential candidate’s unreleased tax returns could reveal more:
Will told Fox News: “Perhaps one more reason why we're not seeing his tax returns — because he is deeply involved in dealing with Russian oligarchs.”
On Wednesday, President Obama spoke to the Today show’s Savannah Guthrie, who asked the commander-in-chief if Putin could influence November’s U.S. presidential election.
“Anything's possible,” Obama said.