US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (R) arrives at Boeing Field on October 14, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by AFP)
Donald Trump has blasted Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while the US secretary of state, and her decision to delete some 33,000 emails, calling it a scandal that’s “worse than Watergate.”
“Clinton and her cronies have sacrificed your security, your family's safety and your country's safety as though it meant nothing to her at all — which it didn't. This magnitude is worse in my opinion ... than Watergate,” said Trump, referring to a major political scandal that brought down US President Richard Nixon in the 1970s.
“And what does she get out of it? She gets to run for the presidency of the United States,” the Republican presidential nominee said at a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Monday night. “We’re going to put an end to that on Nov. 8.”
Documents released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Monday show that the agency decided not to press for an indictment of Clinton following its investigation of her private email practices, because of an alleged quid pro quo arrangement with the State Department.
In his speech, Trump called it “one of the great miscarriages of justice.”
US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses supporters during a campaign stop at the KI Convention Center on October 17, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by AFP)
Clinton underwent a long-running federal investigation over her use of a private email server that involved exchanging thousands of potentially classified emails during her tenure as secretary of state, but she was cleared of any involvement by the FBI earlier this year.
During the FBI’s probe into Clinton’s email server, a State Department official pressured the agency to alter the “top secret” classification of an email because it “caused problems,” FBI officials told investigators.
The two unnamed officials reported a quid pro quo arrangement with the State Department, under which the FBI would back down on classifying the contents of an email from Clinton's private email server in exchange for an expanded FBI role in Iraq.
According to documents, FBI officials told investigators that during that process, Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy called on officials to declassify the email regarding possible arrests in the Benghazi attack and place it under a FOIA exemption known as “B9,” which “would allow him to archive the document in the basement of [the Department of State] never to be seen again.”
The email, dated November 18, 2012, has remained classified, and has been only made public with significant redactions.
The attack on the US diplomatic compound in the Libyan city of Benghazi on September 11, 2012 left four US diplomats, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, dead. According to CNN, up to 35 CIA operatives were working in Benghazi during the incident, but it has never reported how many of them died or were injured.
An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on Sept. 11, 2012.
Trump told his supporters on Monday night, “We're witnessing a criminal enterprise that has turned our government into a vehicle for the Clintons' personal profit at your expense.”
"But it gets worse, it gets worse: FBI documents show Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy made the request for altering classification as part of a quid pro quo,” he continued. "This is felony corruption by any standard," he added.
The Republican presidential nominee then went on to call for Kennedy's immediate resignation.
"Can anyone believe this stuff?" Trump asked his supporters who were making chants of "Lock her up!"
"This is one of the great miscarriages of justice in the history of this country," he argued. "What's happened to the Department of Justice, what's happened to the FBI is so sad."
Hillary Clinton using a private email server while the US secretary of state (file photo)
Critics say she endangered government secrets and evaded transparency laws. The State Department’s inspector general said in late May that Clinton’s personal server violated the department’s record-keeping rules and that it would have been rejected had she asked department officials.
Clinton sent more than 30,000 emails to the State Department from her tenure as secretary which were then published in batches in line with a court order.