Tonight’s final presidential debate was pretty tame stuff until talk turned to Donald Trump’s Great Wall, during which moderator Chris Wallace cited information from WikiLeaks’ dump of hacked DNC emails. Hillary Clinton pounced.
“You are clearly quoting from WikiLeaks and what is important is the Russian government has engaged in espionage against America,” she began. Russia gave that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of influencing the presidential election she said, citing the 17 intelligence agencies that have concluded this. She challenged Trump to “admit and condemn” that Russia is doing this, and make clear to Putin that he “rejects Russian espionage” after having encouraged it in the past. “We have never had anything like this happen in any of our elections,” she said.
“That was a great pivot over the fact she wants open borders,” Trump said with a smile.
Wallace had to calm down the tittering that resulted in the audience, who had been told to remain silent because they are “guests,” Wallace warned earlier.
“I don’t know Putin. He has said nice thing about me,” Trump said, dodging. “If we got along well that would be good…He has no respect for her, no respect for our president and we are in serious trouble.”
“That’s because he’d rather have a puppet for President of the United States,” Clinton shot back.
“No, you’re the puppet!” Trump snarled back.
Moments later Trump insisted “our country has no idea” if the hacks are Russian, which even Wallace could not let pass without fact-checking. Wallace referred Trump, as had Clinton, to the intelligence agencies who have concluded just that. Trump did finally, when asked directly by Wallace, say he would condemn interference in the election by “Russia or anybody else,” saying, “Of course I condemn.” But then, he quickly added, “I don’t know Putin. I never met Putin….But if the United States got along with Russia it wouldn’t be bad. Putin and Russia have outsmarted her every step of the way.”