Donald Trump apparently saw some conservative media reports about Hillary Clinton last night, and the president wasted no time in alerting the public to the revelations.
According to the reports Trump was so excited about, China “hacked” Hillary Clinton’s email server, putting classified information at risk. The president added that the FBI and the Justice Department “better be” investigating the “very big” story.
NBC News reports today that, according to the FBI, Trump’s claims are wrong.
Sixteen hours after President Trump tweeted about a right-wing media story alleging that China hacked Hillary Clinton’s private email server, an FBI official is refuting the report in a comment to NBC News.
“The FBI has not found any evidence the (Clinton) servers were compromised,” the official said.
It’s the latest example of the widening breach between a president who traffics in unverified news accounts and the law enforcement agencies he frequently maligns.
The FBI official, speaking for the bureau, also pointed to a report issued in June by the Justice Department inspector general that examined the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server.
It’s worth emphasizing for context that the original report was published by a far-right website called the Daily Caller, and the claims were amplified by Fox News yesterday afternoon.
Trump decided that conservative media reports were right; the FBI disagrees. The president could’ve consulted the vast amounts of classified intelligence he has access to before sending out his tweets; he decided not to bother.
What’s more, this was not the first time we’ve seen the Trump administration discredit Trump’s misguided claims.
It was just last month, for example, that Justice Department prosecutors debunked the president’s bizarre conspiracy theory about Imran Awan, who worked as an I.T. aide for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). Prosecutors explained in July that they completed “a thorough investigation” into the far-right theories, which the president believed, and found no evidence to support them.
Last September, the Justice Department also confirmed in a court filing that Trump’s conspiracy theory about Barack Obama wiretapping Trump Tower phones was baseless.
It’s one thing when Trump’s outlandish theories are discredited, it’s something else when it’s Trump administration officials doing the debunking.