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Marco Rubio warns Republicans on hacked emails: 'Tomorrow it could be us'

Las Vegas - By the end of Wednesday's final presidential debate, your head might be spinning over attacks on hacked emails involving a top Hillary Clinton aide.

But in a stark split from GOP nominee Donald Trump, who has seized on the illegally-hacked messages, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio warned his party on Wednesday not to gleefully use emails posted on Wikileaks as ammunition.

"Today it is the Democrats," the former Republican presidential contender wrote in a statement to NBC News. "Tomorrow, it could be us."

"I will not discuss any issue that has become public solely on the basis of WikiLeaks," added Rubio, who is running for another Senate term in November. "As our intelligence agencies have said, these leaks are an effort by a foreign government to interfere with our electoral process, and I will not indulge in it."

The Wikileaks posts feature emails from Clinton campaign co-chair John Podesta that highlight the campaign's cozy relationship with Wall Street, talk of a hemispheric common market with “open trade and open borders” and her campaign aides’ views on religious conservatives. They also revealed that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Coca-Cola chief executive Muhtar Kent were on the campaign's initial vice presidential vetting list.

Earlier hacks targeted the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But GOP accounts may be next. And Rubio told a Florida crowd on Wednesday that promoting foreign hacks against U.S. officials -the White House has blamed earlier hacks on the Russian government - could be “an invitation to chaos and havoc.”

From Politico:

“Just think about this: Do we really want to be a country where foreign leaders or foreign intelligence agencies can blackmail our elected officials and say to them that unless you do what we want you to do, we’re gonna release emails from your campaign manager, your wife, your daughter, your son, and we’re gonna embarrass you. So unless you wanna be embarrassed you better do what we want you to do. Is that what we want?” Rubio asked. “Because I’ll tell you that’s what Vladimir Putin does. [There’s] plenty of material in which to line up and take on Secretary Clinton. I think this one is an invitation to chaos and havoc in the future.”

For more of the AJC's latest on the presidential race:

Clinton leads Trump ahead of final debate – and is closing in on Georgia

Brian Kemp fumes at election critics — but not at Donald Trump

Wednesday’s debate could bring the demise of the spousal handshake

One last time: A presidential rumble in Las Vegas

Debate gives Trump, Clinton last big opportunity to appeal to public

Georgia’s College Republicans revolt over Donald Trump

Florida, once again, could play lead role in deciding election

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.