By Max Fisher, New York Times
WASHINGTON — After all the ways that this year’s presidential election has made history, Donald Trump found a new line to cross on Wednesday, when he said at a news conference that Russia should hack his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said, in reference to the private email server Clinton used while she was secretary of state. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
There is simply no precedent for this: A presidential candidate publicly appealing to a foreign adversary to intervene in the election on his behalf.
“This is unprecedented — it is one of those things that seems to be genuinely new in international relations,” said Paul Musgrave, a University of Massachusetts professor who studies American foreign policy.
After a long pause, Musgrave added, “Being shocked into speechlessness is not the sort of thing you’re really used to in the business of foreign policy analysis.”
As part of an investigation into her private server, Clinton handed over 30,000 emails to the State Department. But she deleted a similar number of emails that she said were unrelated to her work at the department.
U.S. presidential elections are high-stakes events. Russia would not be the first foreign power, friendly or hostile, to pursue its preferred outcome. Nor would Trump be the first politician to leverage foreign actors for electoral benefit.
But this is the first time that a presidential candidate has openly asked a foreign power to meddle in the democratic process to his benefit. More than …