Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan insisted Wednesday that about thirty thousand emails she deleted were private while maintaining that hacking into them was an issue of national security.
“A presidential candidate encouraging a foreign power to hack American citizens isn’t a national security issue? You and I will have to disagree on this. But surely we can agree that a presidential candidate encouraging a foreign power to interfere in our democratic process is a national security issue,” Sullivan said in an exclusive emailed statement to The Daily Caller.
Sullivan was responding to an earlier statement he made in response to a tweet from Donald Trump suggesting that Russia should hack and release about thirty thousand emails which Hillary Clinton said she deleted because they were on private matters — like her yoga schedule and Chelsea Clinton’s wedding plans.
If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton's 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2016
Those emails were stored on Hillary Clinton’s private server and were deleted at the discretion of her attorney, reportedly using word searches to determine which emails were private and which related to her duties as secretary of state.
“This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponents,” Sullivan said. “That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to a matter of national security.”
Critics immediately pounced on Sullivan saying it’s a national security issue. The Federalist immediately said this in a blog post: “Sullivan did not explain how the e-mails, which Clinton said were about nothing more than her ‘yoga routines‘ and wedding planning for her daughter, could possibly pose a national security risk to the United States. Sullivan also failed to explain how unclassified e-mails “private personal e-mails” wholly unrelated to her work as Secretary of State — Clinton declared in an infamous 2015 press conference that she “did not email any classified material to anyone on my email” — could compromise American security.”
In his back and forth with TheDC, Sullivan continued to maintain this was an issue of national security while calling the emails private: “Those emails were private emails. Electing a president who thinks it’s okay to encourage foreign powers to hack private American citizens’ emails is absolutely a national security issue. I think most Americans would not want a president who did that. They would consider themselves less safe and secure.”
Sullivan also maintained that hacking into Secretary Clinton’s email would only encourage more hacking: “This has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the emails. It has to do with the invitation to conduct cyberattacks against Americans. I believe that a president who invites such things is a danger to our national security. And you continue to ignore the point about interference in our elections, which is plainly a national security issue.”
Sullivan also insisted that the release of those emails would be an issue of the election, though it’s not clear how the release of Secretary Clinton’s yoga schedule and details of her daughter’s wedding would sway the election.