Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s top campaign aide Paul Manafort said Wednesday night that Trump was only being “sarcastic” when he jokingly asked Russia to hack Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Trump sarcastically said that he hopes Russia can find thousands of emails that were deleted from Clinton’s computer server.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing…I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said.

Trump’s comments come less than a week after hackers, who are believed to be backed by the Russian government, released thousands of emails on the Democratic National Committee’s server.

Manafort defended Trump in his interview with Fox News and said, “First of all, he didn’t encourage anybody to hack…He was making a sarcastic point about those 33,000 missing emails.” 

Democrats have taken what was a simple joke and have gone as far as saying Trump is encouraging espionage and conspiring with Russia.

The Clinton campaign said: “This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent…That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”

Former CIA director Leon Panetta claimed that Trump “once again took Russia’s side.”

“As someone who was responsible for protecting our nation from cyber-attacks, it is inconceivable to me that any presidential candidate would be that irresponsible,” he said.

It is sad to see that Liberals are this petty. They are willing to use any little thing that comes their way to try to degrade Trump.