(FOX 11) - During the week of the Democratic National Convention when the focus was supposed to be on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump found a way to steal the spotlight.
He suggested Russian hackers could help find the missing emails from Clinton’s personal server.
"Russia, if you're listening I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press," said Trump.
The FBI was never able to retrieve them.
Clinton's campaign was quick to respond saying:
"This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. That's not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue."
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta agreed Trump crossed a line, saying on CNN that Trump went "beyond the pale."
But did Trump cross a legal line? Attorney Zein Obagi says yes.
"The Supreme Court said we have free speech under the First Amendment, but if we engage in speech that is intended to incite imminent lawless action and likely to incite that action, then that might be a crime if it's otherwise proscribed by state or federal law," said Obagi.
Trump supporter Newt Gingrich said Trump was simply joking though, tweeting "The media seems more upset by Trump's joke about Russian hacking than by the fact that Hillary's personal server was vulnerable to Russia."
Trump backtracked what he said in this tweet:
"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!"
Obagi says backtracking doesn’t help Trump.
"He's still engaging in reprehensible conduct to a certain extent because he's encouraging people who have stolen property through a very serious means. Cyber security is a very major vulnerability we have in the United States," said Obaji.
Trump's running mate had a very different tone, saying on Facebook:
“The FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking. If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences. That said, the Democrats singularly focusing on who might be behind it and not addressing the basic fact that they've been exposed as a party who not only rigs the government, but rigs elections while literally accepting cash for federal appointments is outrageous. The American people now have absolute and further proof of the corruption that exists around Hillary Clinton. It should disqualify her from office, if the media did their job." - Governor Mike Pence, Vice Presidential Candidate"
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