Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is trolling Donald Trump and his supporters after news broke that the FBI raided Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
Clinton, who for years faced allegations that she illegally mishandled classified documents on a private email server, took to Twitter to hawk “But her emails” hats and T-shirts after it was reported that the FBI raid was part of an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents.
“Every ‘But her emails’ hat or shirt sold helps [Onward Together] partners defend democracy, build a progressive bench, and fight for our values,” Clinton tweeted Tuesday. “Just saying!”
— Hillary Clinton (@Hillary Clinton)
While serving as secretary of state in the Obama administration, Clinton caused controversy by using a private email server hosted at her New York residence for official government communications, in potential violation of federal record-keeping law. She exchanged more than 60,000 emails on this private server, communicating with top aides including Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Sidney Blumenthal.
A 2016 FBI investigation into Clinton’s email practices found that more than 100 emails stored on her private server contained classified information, including 65 emails investigators determined were “Secret” and 22 deemed “Top Secret.” Another 2,100 emails were retroactively deemed to contain classified information and were censored or withheld completely from public release by the State Department.
Clinton’s apparent mishandling of classified information became a major point of contention in the 2016 presidential election. Trump vigorously attacked Clinton over her emails, while the Clinton campaign insisted she had violated no laws and that the entire issue was a distraction. Clinton in turn attacked Trump over his alleged cooperation with Russia to win the election. As it turned out, Trump was also under FBI investigation based on opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign that was later debunked.
On July 5, 2016, FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI had completed its investigation and that his recommendation to the Justice Department would be “that no charges are appropriate in this case.”
“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey said. He also characterized Clinton’s handling of classified information as “extremely careless.”
State Department investigators later completed their own investigation and concluded that 38 people were “culpable” in 91 cases of sending classified information that wound up on Clinton’s email server. A report released to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that despite these violations, there was “no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information.” However, it also noted that Clinton’s use of a private email server increased the vulnerability of classified information.
Trump and many other Republicans have never forgiven the FBI and the Justice Department for declining to pursue charges against Clinton. The former president has repeatedly accused the Justice Department of holding one standard for Democrats and another for Republicans, asserting that the Russian collusion investigation and other law enforcement probes into his business dealings and conduct as president were politically motivated.
The “But her emails” phrase is used by Clinton supporters who accuse Trump supporters of whataboutism when it comes to the controversies surrounding Trump.
The FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago on Monday drew accusations from Trump that federal law enforcement has been “weaponized” by the Biden administration against its political opposition, as Trump is widely expected to challenge President Joe Biden in 2024.
Reports indicate the search and seizure were connected to records and classified documents that Trump allegedly had brought to Mar-a-Lago from the White House when he left office. The New York Times reported that Trump had delayed in returning 15 boxes of material requested by National Archives officials for months in a case that was referred to the Justice Department earlier this year.
The accusation that Trump mishandled classified documents has drawn comparisons to the accusations against Clinton’s email conduct. The difference is that Clinton’s private residence was never raided by the FBI.