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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

As in Miami months ago, Trump to face questions today about Russia



When President-elect Donald Trump holds a news conference in New York this morning, he will face a barrage of questions about Russia.

Which is fitting, because the last time he took questions from the press at large – on July 27 in Miami - Trump made Russia the news.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said at Trump National Doral. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

It was astonishing moment, a presidential candidate openly asking for foreign intervention.

Trump was referring to Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails, not the Democratic Party emails now at the center of a growing investigation into Russian meddling in the election, though he mentioned those as well.

Trump last week finally conceded that Russia was involved after long denying that was the case and casting aspersions on the U.S. intelligence community.

The revelations, including a CNN report Tuesday that Russians collected compromising personal and financial information about Trump, has only amplified the issue little more than a week before the inauguration.

Tuesday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio joined other lawmakers in introducing a broad set of proposed sanctions against Russia, setting up a clash with Trump, who has praised Putin and called for warmer relations.

“Vladimir Putin is not an ally of America, and he only understands strength, not weakness in the form of unilateral concessions," Rubio said. “These two facts are important to remember as a new president takes office. I will continue working with our bipartisan coalition to pressure Putin and his corrupt regime until Russia changes its behavior.”

In Miami in July, Trump was asked about ties to the Russian president. “I never met Putin,” he said. “I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing to me. He said I’m a genius."

He also ripped the Democratic National Committee, whose emails were hacked by the Russians, according to officials. At the time the DNC was under fire from the left for favoring Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

“It was Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and believe me, as sure as you're sitting there, Hillary Clinton knew about it,” Trump said. “She knew everything. Debbie Wasserman Schultz could not breathe without speaking and getting approval from Hillary Clinton.”

He also called President Barack Obama “the most ignorant president in our history.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 8:46am]


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