Unbelievable: Trump asked Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s ‘missing’ emails ON THE SAME EXACT DAY Russian officials are accused of hacking Hillary Clinton's team pic.twitter.com/J9qetii9Ns— Antonio (@AntonioArellano) July 13, 2018
Surprise, surprise — reports surfaced Friday revealing that Russian hackers tried to access Hillary Clinton’s email accounts on the very same day that President Donald Trump asked them to find her so-called missing emails.
At the time, Trump and Clinton were still presidential candidates battling it out on the campaign trail. After facing backlash for calling upon a foreign adversary to commit a literal crime, Trump claimed he was just being "sarcastic."
"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump said at a press conference on July 27, 2016, referring to Clinton’s deleted emails. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."
An indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office on Friday claimed that Russian intelligence officers, indeed, tried hacking into accounts affiliated with Clinton’s campaign on the same day Trump made that statement.
The indictment also said that Russian hackers began targeting the Clinton campaign in March 2016. They would create fake email accounts pretending to be campaign employees and send “spear phishing” emails to actual staffers with links containing malware that were designed to give the hackers access to numerous internal emails.
Although the special counsel’s findings indicate that the Russians were going after Clinton long before Trump’s tactless joke, a section of the charging documents stated that the Russian “conspirators” ramped up their efforts to include Clinton-affiliated accounts and domains on the day that Trump sent the infamous dog-whistle.
"For example, on or about July 27, 2016, the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton's personal office," the indictment said. "At or around the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton Campaign."
The Russian intelligence agents are accused of using their spear phishing strategy to target the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Clinton campaign. However, July 27 was the first time they attacked email accounts and domains that belonged to Clinton’s office, according to the indictment.
"Yet what Trump was publicly asking the Russians to find for were Clinton's deleted *personal* emails," Vox political correspondent Andrew Prokop tweeted. "The way this is written, including the mention of 'after hours,' definitely seems to suggest the 7/27 spear phishing attempt was in response to Trump."
Yet what Trump was publicly asking the Russians to find for were Clinton's deleted *personal* emails.— Andrew Prokop (@awprokop) July 13, 2018
The way this is written, including the mention of "after hours," definitely seems to suggest the 7/27 spearphishing attempt was in response to Trump. pic.twitter.com/uUgFSgAx5j
The charges stated in the indictment include two counts of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States; eight counts of aggravated identity theft; and one count of conspiracy to launder money using cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.
This revelation seems much too suspicious to be a mere coincidence. As this indictment indicates, the criticism Trump received immediately after making the 2016 comments was warranted. Regardless of whether or not Trump truly meant his comment as a joke, it is evident that the Russians didn't take it as one.