WASHINGTON — Donald Trump on Tuesday accused the Justice Department of feeding information to Hillary Clinton’s campaign to “cover up for her crimes.”
Trump seized on hacked emails released by Wikileaks that purport to show Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon communicating with the DOJ regarding a FOIA lawsuit in 2015, and said they showed collusion between Clinton and the Obama administration regarding its email investigation.
“The DOJ fed information to the Clinton campaign about the email investigation so that the campaign could be prepared to cover up for her crimes,” Trump said, at a rally in Panama City, in Florida’s deeply conservative panhandle. “This is collusion and corruption of the highest order and is one more reason I will ask my attorney general … to appoint a special prosecutor.”
“We have to investigate Hillary Clinton and we have to investigate the investigation. This was a disgrace,” Trump said, referring to the FBI probe into Clinton’s private email server.
The communication between Fallon and the DOJ, revealed by WikiLeaks, only concerned the FOIA lawsuit, and not the investigation into Clinton’s email use. There is no evidence DOJ communicated with Fallon on other issues, including its email investigation.
Trump hit Clinton right at the top of his speech, repeatedly citing information drawn from the emails hacked and given to Wikileaks, in a concentrated assault.
“You see so much from the Wikileaks, there is so much,” Trump said.
The Republican nominee also seized on reports that State Department insiders gave priorities to friends of Bill Clinton when handling aid contracts following the deadly earthquake in Haiti in 2010.
“We should never forget how Bill and Hillary Clinton handled Haiti the last time out. To all our friends in Haiti and Little Haiti, your day of justice is coming and it arrives on November 8,” Trump said.
In an email on May 19, 2015, Fallon advised of upcoming action in a civil lawsuit by Vice News reporter Jason Leopold that resulted in the State Department releasing tens of thousands of Clinton’s emails.
“DOJ folks inform me there is a status hearing in this case this morning, so we could have a window into the judge’s thinking about this proposed production schedule as quickly as today,” Fallon, a former Justice Department spokesman, wrote.
The hearing Fallon was referring to was publicly available information and covered extensively at the time by CNN, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, Vice, National Journal and The Hill, among others.
The exchange is included in the third batch of emails that appear to be hacked from Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta and posted by WikiLeaks. The Clinton campaign has never formally verified the authenticity of the emails, the first of which were released Friday. WikiLeaks claims to have 50,000 emails hacked from Podesta and has thus far released roughly 5,300.
In a tweet Tuesday afternoon, Trump wrote, “I hope people are looking at the disgraceful behavior of Hillary Clinton as exposed by WikiLeaks. She is unfit to run.” He did not mention any specific allegation or hacked email or allegation.
The most significant news from the emails posted came Friday, when WikiLeaks posted what appeared to be excerpts from transcripts of speeches Clinton gave to Wall Street companies after leaving the State Department.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday that he would not comment directly on “stolen emails of a private citizen” when questioned about an email showing the Clinton campaign was in touch with the Justice Department.
“I will say in general is both the attorney general and the FBI director have made clear the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server was conducted without regard to partisan politics,” Earnest said.
The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday on Fallon’s email. But Fallon, in a string of tweets Monday night, accused WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange of coordinating the releases with the Russian government and the Trump campaign.
“.@wikileaks You are no media organization. You are a propaganda arm of the Russian govt, running interference for their pet candidate, Trump,” Fallon wrote.