Hillary Clinton accused the Trump administration Tuesday of making her the target of a “witch hunt” by ramping up a probe into emails sent during her stint as secretary of state.
Mrs. Clinton, President Trump’s former political rival, used the phrase — an idiom uttered ad nauseam by Mr. Trump to describe investigations into his own administration — in response to being asked about recent news reporting indicating the State Department has intensified an investigation into emails she sent and received while leading the agency.
“It’s a witch hunt. And it’s a real one, unlike the kind of things that Trump talks about,” Mrs. Clinton told NowThis media outlet.
Federal investigators previously considered whether Mrs. Clinton violated any laws by using a private email server while secretary of state under former President Barack Obama, but the FBI ultimately decided in 2016 against bringing any related charges.
More recently, The Washington Post reported Sunday that the Trump administration has contacted approximately 130 current and former State Department officials in recent weeks to tell them that emails they sent during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure have been retroactively classified and could constitute potential security violations.
“My reaction, as you might predict, [was] absolute bewilderment and disappointment,” Mrs. Clinton said in the interview. “These people are experienced foreign service officers, other distinguished Americans who’ve had great careers. What does it mean to retroactively classify something they sent?”
“I’m sorry that they’re doing it again, because now they’re trying to bring in other people,” she said.
Mr. Trump and his allies have repeatedly described the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as a “witch hunt.”
Led by Robert Mueller, a former director of the FBI, that probe resulted in criminal charges bring brought against 34 individuals and three companies, including several former members of Mr. Trump’s election campaign, prior to concluding earlier this year.
Mr. Trump has since asserted that the impeachment inquiry initiated by House Democrats last week over a whistleblower complaint involving a conversation with the Ukrainian president is another “witch hunt.”