Donald Trump has a message for Russia: find Hillary Clinton's missing emails.
The Republican presidential nominee, holding a Wednesday press conference, said that the 30,000 missing emails from Clinton's private email server would reveal "some beauties" and made an extraordinary plea for a foreign power to locate them.
"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump said. "I think you'll be rewarded mightily by our press!"
Trump, whom Democrats have accused of having cozy ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, repeatedly declined to condemn the actions of Russia or any other foreign power of trying to intervene in the a U.S. election.
"No, it gives me no pause," the celebrity businessman said. "If Russia or China or any of those country gets those emails, I've got to be honest with you, I'd love to see them."
Clinton's campaign has said that Russia hacked computers belonging to the Democratic National Convention and released those emails on the eve of the party's convention to benefit Trump'scandidacy. Trump dismissed the claims, saying it's not clear who hacked those emails, but the hacking is a sign that foreign countries no longer respect the U.S.
"If it's any foreign country it shows how little respect they have for the United States," said Trump, who added that he was "not an email person myself because I believe it can be hacked."
Obama traditionally avoids commenting on active FBI investigations, but he told NBC News on Tuesday that outside experts have blamed Russia for the leak and appeared to embrace the notion that President Vladimir Putin might have been responsible because of what he described as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's affinity for Putin.
In Moscow on Wednesday, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Russia would never interfere in another country's election.
But are Clinton's emails really missing? The 30,000 emails Trump refers to are likely the personal emails she says she deleted but were later recovered by the FBI. The FBI says those emails included 8 labeled "top secret" and 36 labeled "secret."
Trump has said that he has "zero investments" in Russia and insisted that his company had not received any significant investments from the country. He also has downplayed his affection for Putin and said he would treat the Russian leader "firmly," though he said he wanted to improve relations with Russia. Some Democrats and security experts have said that Trump's proposal to set conditions on NATO allies could risk Russian expansion in Eastern Europe.
The press conference, held at one of Trump's resorts in Florida, also included a pledge to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $10, a promise to soon release a list of countries from which immigrants would need to be subject of "extreme vetting," and a mistaken reference to Tim Kaine, Clinton's new running mate, as being from New Jersey, not Virginia.
It is possible that Trump confused Kaine with Tom Kean, who was governor of New Jersey from 1982-1990, while Trump was building his Atlantic City empire. Kean, who chaired the federal 9/11 commission, skipped this year's Republican convention, the first time he's done that since he became involved in politics, because he said he disagreed with Trump on too many issues.
Lemire contributed reporting from New York. Jack Gillum contributed from Washington.