In July 2016, when then-candidate Donald Trump publicly called on Russian hackers to find Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails, the sight of a major party’s presidential candidate asking for a foreign adversary to interfere in national politics was shocking. It was also, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, a joke.
‘When they would hack into a major party, but it would be interesting to see, I will tell you this, Russia, if you’re listening I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails,” Trump said at a press conference during the campaign. “I think you will be rewarded mightily by our press.”
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
During an off-camera briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted Trump “was joking” when he made that comment.
“He was joking at the time. We all know that,” Spicer insisted.
During a segment on MSNBC, reporter Katy Tur—who challenged Trump on those very remarks during the campaign—wasn’t having any of Spicer’s reasoning.
“I’m going to stop you right there because I want to play that soundbite from July of 2016,” Tur began. “Sean Spicer was just asked about it and he said the president was joking. Take a listen to the president back in July 2016 and me pushing him on that very fact.”
After playing the clip of Trump calling for Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, Tur explained that her takeaway from the president’s request was that it was very clear he was being serious.
“A moment later, I asked him if it gave him any pause to ask a foreign government to hack into the personal e-mail of any person in this country” Tur continued. “He said it gave him no pause, no, absolutely not. He was not joking in that moment like Sean Spicer is trying to argue or like the president was trying to argue later when he walked that back. How much longer will they try to the argument that we’re not seeing what is very clearly in front of our eyes?”
Watch the video below, via CNN: