Enlarge / ST LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 09: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) speaks as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump looks on during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.Win McNamee/Getty Images
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Sunday night’s debate between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump wasn’t focused on tech issues, with the showdown overshadowed by a damaging video in which Trump made vulgar comments about women.
But both Clinton’s e-mail and the role of Wikileaks made appearances.
Early on, Trump referred to Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as Secretary of State and then made the extraordinary claim that if elected president, he’d appoint a special prosecutor in order to investigate and jail Clinton for how she handled classified information.
Clinton’s email server use was investigated by the FBI, whose director, Republican appointee James Comey, said that no prosecutor would find grounds to prosecute Clinton.
“It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in this country,” said Clinton, in response.
“Because you’d be in jail,” Trump interjected.
The Russian role
There was also a brief exchange about Wikileaks, which on Friday released alleged excerpts of speeches Clinton made to investment bankers at Goldman Sachs, which Clinton had previously refused to make public.
Debate moderator Martha Raddatz asked Clinton about a statement she purportedly made in one of those speeches about how politicians sometimes need a “public and a private position.”
“Is it OK for politicians to be two-faced?” asked Raddatz. “Is it acceptable for politicians to have a private stance on issues?”
Clinton said she was citing Abraham Lincoln describing how he got the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, passed through Congress.
“Convincing some people, he used some arguments,” Clinton said. “Convincing other people, he used other arguments.”
Clinton went on to condemn Wikileaks, saying that it was being used by Russian-government directed hackers who were attempting to disrupt US elections—an allegation recently made by the Department of Homeland Security.
“Our intelligence community just came out and said, in the last few days, that the Kremlin… are directing attacks, are hacking American accounts to influence the election,” said Clinton. “Wikileaks is part of that, as are other sites.”
Never in American history has a foreign power taken such steps, she added.
“Believe me, they’re not doing it to get me elected,” she said. “They’re doing it to help Donald Trump… We deserve answers. We should demand that Donald Trump release all his tax returns.”
“She lied,” Trump responded. “Now she’s blaming the lie on the great Abraham Lincoln.
I don’t know Putin.
I think it would be great if we got along with Russia, but I don’t know Putin.”
“She doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking,” he continued. “They’re trying to tarnish me with Russia.
I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia.
I have no loans from Russia.
I have a great balance sheet.”