Donald Trump says newly released documents from the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state show the bureau “colluded” with the State Department and Department of Justice to make his Democratic rival “look less guilty.”
“This is very big and frankly unbelievable,” the Republican nominee said in a video posted to Facebook on Monday night. “This is collusion between the FBI, the Department of Justice and the State Department to try and make Hillary Clinton look like an innocent person when she’s guilty of very high crimes.”
According to the summaries of interviews released Monday, Patrick Kennedy, a top State Department official, tried to get the FBI to declassify information in one of Clinton’s emails about the deadly 2012 terror attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, in exchange for help in increasing the FBI’s personnel in Iraq.
The State Department and the FBI both said there was “no quid pro quo,” and State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the exchange never occurred. But the revelation has given fuel to Trump’s fiery claims of a “rigged” election.
“This shows corruption at the highest level,” Trump said. “And we can’t let it happen as American citizens.”
The 2015 discussion between Kennedy and the unnamed FBI official occurred during the bureau’s yearlong probe into Clinton’s use of an unauthorized email server. In July, the FBI concluded its investigation, declining to recommend charges against Clinton. FBI Director James Comey said that although the former secretary and her staff had been “extremely careless” in handling classified information, there was no evidence they intentionally put that information at risk.
During last week’s presidential debate, Trump threatened he would instruct his attorney general to reopen the case if he’s elected president. Critics said Trump’s threat undermined democratic norms.
“We’re going to get a special prosecutor, and we’re going to look into it,” Trump told Clinton. “It’s a disgrace. And honestly, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
The Trump campaign is hoping to shift the focus away from recent allegations by women who say the real estate mogul made unwanted sexual advances on them in separate incidents dating back to the early 1970s. Trump has denied all of them, claiming that their stories are part of a media conspiracy orchestrated by the Clinton campaign to blunt the potential impact of her own scandals.
“This is one of the big breaking stories of our time,” Trump said of the revelations in the FBI notes in the Monday video. “So let’s see how the press covers it. The press likes not to cover it because the best thing Hillary Clinton has going is the media. Without the media, she wouldn’t even be in this race.”
He added: “All I can say is let’s hope our country gets a fair shake because this is a big mess.”