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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio: Capitalizing on hacked WikiLeaks material is 'invitation to chaos and havoc'

During a visit to the J.C. Newman Cigar Company in Tampa Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio talks about why Republicans should not try to captilalize on allegedly hacked materials released by WikiLeaks.

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Hours after releasing a statement saying he would not comment on hacked emails released by WikiLeaks -- and suggesting his fellow Republicans shouldn't, either -- U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio elaborated on his reasoning during a stop in Tampa.

"Our intelligence officials, who are not partisan people, have told us that this is the work of a foreign intelligence agency, and we cannot be a country where foreign intelligence agencies can interfere or influence our political process," Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees, said during a visit to the J.C. Newman Cigar Company. "What I would say to my Republican colleagues, some of whom may be disappointed by the position I've taken is, today it's them," -- meaning Democrats -- "tomorrow it could be us."

"And just think about this," he continued. "Do we really want to be a country where foreign leaders or foreign intelligence agencies can blackmail our elected officials and say to them, 'Unless you do what we want you to do, we're going to release emails from your campaign manager, your wife, your daughter, your son, we're going to embarrass them...' Is that what we want? Because I tell you, that's what Vladimir Putin does to governments and leaders in the former Soviet republics."

Rubio's stance is a departure from that of the Republican National Committee and GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who is constantly attacking Hillary Clinton over the content of the hacked emails. The U.S. government has publicly accused the Russian government of hacks and email leaks targeting U.S. political institutions. 

Rubio said there is "plenty of material on which to line up and take on" Clinton.

"I think this one is an invitation to chaos and havoc in the future," he said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 1:53pm]

    

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