While Donald Trump let loose about allegations that the Russian government had hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s emails in order to bolster his presidential bid, his running mate released a comparatively measured statement cautioning that the U.S. government would determine how exactly who broke into the DNC’s servers.
“The FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking. If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences,” Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) wrote in a statement sent out just after Trump wrapped up an explosive press conference on Wednesday.
Still, Pence charged, the Democrats deserved blame for “singularly focusing on who might be behind it” rather than looking into the “corruption” of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Trump alternately suggested that Russia might be behind the hack or that it was “unlikely” to be the culprit during a tense conference with reporters at his property in Doral, Florida.
“Russia has to respect our country—if it is Russia,” Trump said. “Nobody knows. It’s probably China, or it could be somebody sitting in his bed. But it shows how weak we are. It shows how disrespected we are. Assuming it’s Russia or China or one of the major countries and competitors, it’s a total sign of disrespect for our country.”
Later in the press conference he said “it’s probably not Russia.”
“Nobody knows,” he repeated. “Honestly they have no idea if it’s Russia. It might be Russia.”
Trump said that if the hackers turned out to be Russian, he hoped that they managed to breach Clinton’s personal email server, too, and urged them to release her emails.
“If they hacked, they probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do,” Trump said of Russia.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you can find the 33,000 emails that are missing,” he added.
Read Pence’s full statement below:
The FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking. If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences. That said, the Democrats singularly focusing on who might be behind it and not addressing the basic fact that they’ve been exposed as a party who not only rigs the government, but rigs elections while literally accepting cash for federal appointments is outrageous. The American people now have absolute and further proof of the corruption that exists around Hillary Clinton. It should disqualify her from office, if the media did their job.