It was apparently the very night that then-candidate Donald Trump called on Russia to find his opponent Hillary Clinton's "missing" emails in July 2016 that Russian operatives "attempted after hours to spearfish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton's personal office," Special Counsel Robert Mueller's latest indictment says. The Justice Department's discovery — that "on or about July 27, 2016" Russian intelligence agents apparently heeded Trump's call — casts uncertainty over the White House's claim that Trump was just "joking" when he asked for Russia to hack Clinton.
Earlier on July 27, 2016, Trump had said, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing." Just days later, WikiLeaks began publishing hacked Democratic National Committee emails, NBC News reports. On Friday, the DOJ indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials over that hacking, with the intention of interfering in the outcome of the election.
July 27, 2016, Trump: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing."
Indictment: That evening, Russian operatives targeted Clinton campaign emails "for the first time." pic.twitter.com/fanyaAxwfJ
— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) July 13, 2018
Trump has repeatedly maintained that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 election. "The phony Russian Collusion was a made up Hoax," the president tweeted as recently as June 17, 2018. "Too bad they didn't look at Crooked Hillary like this." Jeva Lange