MIAMI • Mr Donald Trump has invited Russia to dig up tens of thousands of "missing" e-mail messages from his rival Hillary Clinton's time at the US State Department, vexing intelligence experts and prompting Democrats to accuse him of urging foreigners to spy on Americans.
"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing," Mr Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, told reporters.
He made the remark at a testy news conference at his Doral golf resort in Florida that allowed him to steal some of the limelight from the Philadelphia convention where Mrs Clinton accepted the Democratic presidential nomination for the Nov 8 election.
The Clinton campaign shot back that Mr Trump was posing a possible national security threat while intelligence experts said the comments raised questions about Mr Trump's judgment.
Mr Trump and his campaign advisers later tried to tamp down the storm of protests, saying that he was "being sarcastic".
Mr Trump was referring to a private e-mail system that Mrs Clinton kept while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
MESSAGE FOR MOSCOW
Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.
MR DONALD TRUMP, the Republican presidential candidate, referring to messages on Mrs Hillary Clinton's server that she did not release to investigators.
She handed over thousands of e-mail messages last year to US officials probing that system, but did not release about 30,000 messages that she said were personal and not work-related.
A Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into the issue found no basis for criminal charges, but FBI director James Comey said this month there was evidence that Mrs Clinton had been "extremely careless" in her handling of classified information.
Mr Trump also dismissed suggestions that the WikiLeaks release of embarrassing Democratic Party e-mail last week was engineered by Russia to help his campaign.
Cyber security experts and US officials have said there was evidence that Russia engineered the release of the sensitive party e-mail. But Russia has brushed aside suggestions that it was involved.
Mr Trump's vice-presidential running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, said he expected the FBI to get to the bottom of the matter.