Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump makes a campaign appearance in Ashburn, Va., on Tuesday. Two Democratic senators are calling on Trump's former primary rival Sen. Ted Cruz to investigate whether Trump's comments on Russian hacking may have broken federal law. Photo by Ron Sachs/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Two Democratic senators have petitioned Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to investigate Donald Trump's comment suggesting Russia should turn over any emails it has of Hillary Clinton's during her time as secretary of state.
Trump's remark was interpreted by some as encouraging the Russians to hack Clinton in order to damage her presidential campaign.
Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island wrote to Cruz, Trump's former primary rival, because Cruz is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee's oversight subpanel. The senators questioned whether existing U.S. law goes far enough to prevent foreign interference in domestic politics or to prevent U.S. citizens from working with foreign actors to influence elections.
"Mr. Trump's encouragement of a Russian cyber incursion of a U.S. presidential candidate represents an unprecedented call for a foreign government to spy on a U.S. citizen and interfere with a U.S. election," the senators wrote.
Politico reports the letter represents the first formal call by Democrats for Trump to be investigated for his Russia comments.
At a press conference last week, Trump said: "Russia, if you're listening I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing."
The comment was a reference to the 33,000 emails Clinton ordered scrubbed from her private email server, which she used while secretary of state. Clinton has said all the emails were private in nature and not related to her government duties, a statement that cannot be verified because she ordered her lawyers to delete the emails before turning the server over to FBI investigators.
Trump later said he was not calling on Russia to hack Clinton. Instead, he said he was calling on the Russian government to turn over any information it has to the FBI.
Coons, Whitehouse Letter to Cruz