Donald Trump caught plenty of flak Wednesday night at the Democratic convention over his suggestion that Russian hackers should dig up Hillary Clinton's missing government emails. But Trump himself says the whole controversy is overblown: "Of course I'm being sarcastic," he told Fox News, per Politico. His critics are trying to provide a distraction from the bigger problem, he adds: "You take a look at what was said on those emails, it's disgraceful. It's disgraceful. They talk about religion, they talk about race, they talk about all sorts of things, including women. And what they said on those emails is a disgrace, and they're just trying to deflect from that."
Campaign chief Paul Manafort offered a similar line of defense, explaining on Fox that Trump was talking "in a sarcastic way" at his news conference, reports NBC News. "The real problem here is the fact that she had an unsecured server sitting in her closet in her home, that could be hacked by anyone in the world." Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, meanwhile, called the candidate's comments "tongue-in-cheek." A different view came from journalist Carl Bernstein, who said on CNN the remarks should disqualify Trump from the race, reports the Hill.