A trio of House Democrats are calling on GOP leaders to formally investigate whether Donald Trump broke any laws when, they say, he encouraged Russia to look for Hillary Clinton’s missing emails.
Trump’s comments, which came after the revelation that suspected Russian hackers had broken into the Democratic National Committee’s servers and stolen months’ worth of emails, sparked a backlash of vitriol against the GOP’s presidential nominee for seemingly egging on a foreign country to conduct cyberattacks against Americans.
Now Democratic Reps. Patrick Murphy (Florida), Andre Carson (Indiana) and Eric Swalwell (California) want the House Judiciary Committee to take up the case.
“We request that you hold a hearing to determine whether there are appropriate federal criminal statutes and federal court jurisdiction to address individuals’ actions that encourage foreign actors to carry out cyberattacks against U.S. citizens and influence or manipulate our electoral process,” they wrote in a letter addressed to Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, who chairs the subcommittee that handles crimes, investigations, terrorism and homeland security.
They suggested the committee look at the Logan Act — a law against U.S. citizens negotiating with foreign governments without authorization — the Espionage Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to see if Trump had violated any laws.
It is unlikely that House Republicans will respond to the request. Murphy, Carson and Swalwell are all on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Murphy is also locked in a heated contest for the Senate with incumbent Republican Marco Rubio (Florida).
But it’s not the first time Democrats have gone after Trump for his comments about Russia against long odds. Some, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, questioned whether Trump should receive intelligence briefings traditionally given to presidential nominees after what he said.
Trump has protested that he was speaking in jest, and that the 30,000 missing emails Clinton had on a private server are of far greater consequence than anything he said.
The content hacked DNC emails, which were released by the organization Wikileaks, ultimately caused DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Karoun Demirjian