UPDATED: Trump Is Doing It Again

UPDATE: You want to see the video of this mess, don’t you? Well, here it is…

ORIGINAL: With the Democrat Convention turning into a circus, with protesters climbing the Great Wall of Philadelphia last night, fistfights outside the hall and Bill Clinton noticeably glossing over all the sleaze in his marriage to Hillary Clinton, while polls show the Democrat candidate more and more unelectable, by any measure the best advice anyone could give to Donald Trump is, SHUT. UP.

Especially given that Trump has established a pattern of putting his foot in his mouth and robbing Hillary Clinton of a devastating news cycle. There was, for example, Trump’s moronic repetition of the ignorant statement that Saddam Hussein had killed terrorists right in the middle of the national meltdown over FBI director James Comey’s press conference announcing Clinton was going to get away with violating federal law with her e-mail scandal.

And today, while the Democrats self-immolate over the still-raging controversy over the Wikileaks disclosure of the DNC’s e-mails showing a treasure trove of favoritism and corruption, Trump took to the microphones to offer what can only be termed a media bailout.

The morning began with Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, going on CBS News This Morning to address Democrat claims that the Russians are behind the DNC e-mail hack. It wasn’t the greatest interview of all time…

The Trump camp’s defense to some of this Democrat narrative is that he has no investments in Russia. But nobody is accusing him of having investments in Russia; they’re saying Russians have investments in Trump. And Manafort’s denial along those lines was, to put it mildly, unconvincing.

And then there was this…

Except that’s not what Trump said originally

Donald Trump invited Russia to hack Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, asking them to find “the 30,000 emails that are missing” from her time as secretary of state.

“It would be interesting to see, I will tell you this, Russia, if you’re listening I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” the Republican nominee said at a news conference in Florida. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Trump also downplayed his connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin, although he had previously said during a Republican debate that there were “stablemates” and he got to know him “very well” when they were both interviewed for 60 Minutes.

However, it was quickly pointed out that Putin and Trump were interviewed in different countries and Trump then sought to clarify his comments, tweeting “I only said I was on @60Minutes four weeks ago with Putin — never said I was in Green Room. Separate pieces—great ratings!”

Trump was also asked about his relationship with Putin, to which he responded, “I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me. … I never met Putin.”

And a little more…

He added, “I would treat Vladimir Putin firmly, but there is nothing I can think of that I would rather do than half Russia friendly as opposed to the way they are right now so that we can go knockout ISIS together with other people and other countries,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be nice if we got along with people?”

Trump also doubled down his commitment to improving relations with Russia.

“President Trump would be so much better for U.S.-Russian relations. You can’t be worse,” he said. He later added, “One thing that I’ve always heard is you never want to do anything to unite Russia and China. Well, they’re united now in a true sense. They’ve never been closer. They’re selling oil to China. We forced them into this position.”

If Manafort looked like he’d been fed a big dose of polonium in that CBS News interview, Trump’s press conference in Florida would sure seem to be the reason.

Why Trump thinks it’s a good idea to wade into the Democrats’ claims that the Russians hacked their e-mails on his behalf, in the midst of the fallout from what’s in those e-mails, is a question for the ages. If ever there was a time to shut up and let your opponent burn, it’s now.

But there he is, doubling down and essentially asking a hostile foreign government to conduct espionage against the United States. Yes, yes, it’s not literally that – you could offer the defense that all he’s saying is the Russians ought to release what they already have. Except that would be making classified information available to the public, which if you’re a responsible leader you’d rather not do.

Now, it would also make Hillary Clinton’s legal problems look a bit worse by proving that she put classified information into the hands of a hostile foreign government, and that could certainly help Trump win.

But everybody already knows Clinton’s email server was hacked. It was unsecure, and the information on the server was intelligence gold. Of course it was hacked. You don’t need written proof of that fact – especially not at the cost of giving meat to the theory you’re in bed with Putin.

It’s not like Democrats are going to not vote for Trump because he’s in bed with Putin. Any Democrats who care about that are already not going to vote for Trump. It’s independents and Republicans who would look at his ties to Putin and be scared off. And Trump is signalling that those concerns are founded.

No, Trump isn’t a Democrat plant. That’s a crazy conspiracy theory. But the mind-blowing stupidity of his campaign does defy conventional explanation.

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