Donald Trump's campaign accused the Department of Justice Tuesday of having too cozy a relationship with the Hillary Clinton campaign. The accusation followed the surfacing of an email, via WikiLeaks, that showed a Clinton spokesman saying he spoke with people in the DOJ during the investigation into Clinton's private email server used during her tenure as secretary of state.
"Today's report that Clinton’s campaign was in communication with the Obama Department of Justice on the email investigation shows a level of collusion which calls into question the entire investigation into her private server," Trump spokesman Jason Miller said in at statement. "The Department of Justice must release all communications with the Clinton campaign and her allies as soon as possible in order to definitively prove their investigation was completely above board."
The statement from the Trump campaign cited a tweet from NBC News' Tom Winter that read "Hacked e-mails from Wikileaks appear to show Clinton campaign spokesman in touch with DOJ officials regarding e-mail litigation." The Republican nominee himself, Donald Trump, retweeted Winter's post, adding "Wow. Unbelievable."
In the email posted to Twitter, Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon, who previously worked for the Department of Justice, writes that "DOJ folks inform [him]" there was a status hearing that morning in an email dated May 19 of last year.
Many quickly pointed out that this was publicly available information and did not necessarily mean there was any sort of secret collusion. Fallon even retweeted a Twitter user who said the NBC News "find" was "inane" and that anyone "can confirm a lousy status conference."
Winter did qualify his first post in later tweets, saying there "could be nothing improper in this e-mail at all," but did add it was potentially of interest that Fallon was in communication with DOJ officials while working for Clinton.
The email, while not proving anything untoward happened, is certainly fuel for critics who have long called into the question the legitimacy of the Obama administration looking into the Clinton emails. Prior instances have stoked allegations of impropriety, including what was described as a chance airport encounter between former President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch during the investigation. The Department of Justice decided not to press charges against the former secretary of state for mishandling classified information. The FBI also investigated Clinton's use of a private server and recommended no charges, but critics, Trump chief among them, have persisted. Trump has especially zeroed in on some 32,000 emails deleted by Clinton, which were reportedly personal in nature and deleted before any subpoenas had been issued.
Fallon, for his part, posted to Twitter to remind people that the release of such emails are the result of an illegal hack. He's also reiterated the claim that WikiLeaks is working on behalf of the Russian government, which wants a Trump presidency.