Politico reports: Donald Trump’s call on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails has shocked, flabbergasted and appalled lawmakers and national security experts across the political spectrum, with one saying it was “tantamount to treason.”
Few would argue Wednesday that what the Republican presidential nominee said will directly cause Russia to conduct more cyber-espionage against the U.S. than it already is doing. But several described Trump’s statements as dangerous for America’s global standing. Some echoed the Clinton campaign in calling the comments a threat to national security.
“It’s just one more example of the reckless and dangerous comments that Donald Trump makes that compromises American foreign policy objectives,” said Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Leon Panetta, a former CIA director, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that Trump’s comments were “beyond the pale” because he was “in fact asking the Russians to engage in American politics.” Later during a panel at the University of Pennsylvania, Panetta ramped up his rebuke, calling Trump’s remarks a “threat to our national security.”
An aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who has endorsed Trump, added, meanwhile, that “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug” and that it should stay out of the U.S. election.
“The United States should not tolerate Russian meddling in November’s election,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.). “Period.”
Philip Reiner, a former National Security Council official in the Obama administration, called Trump a “scumbag animal.”
“Hacking email is a criminal activity. And he’s asked a foreign government — a murderous, repressive regime — to attack not just one of our citizens but the Democratic presidential candidate? Of course it’s a national security threat,” he added.
And William Inboden, who served on the NSC during the George W. Bush administration, said Trump’s comments were “tantamount to treason.” [Continue reading…]