As Donald Trump faces the growing possibility of impeachment over the Ukraine scandal, his State Department has reportedly been ramping up a long-dormant investigation of a favorite political target for Trump — Hillary Clinton’s email server.
This weekend, a report from The Washington Post noted that the State Department seems to have revived the investigation into Clinton’s private server, an issue that took center stage during the 2016 presidential election. Clinton was investigated by the FBI at the time, which ultimately concluded that her use of a private server did not constitute a criminal infraction. The investigation appears to be back, however, as close to 130 current and former officials have been contacted by the State Department and notified that emails they sent years ago were retroactively marked classified — meaning they may have committed security violations by sending them.
The report noted that the investigation, which began after Trump took office, seemed to have been dormant for several months before it started to pick up steam in August. It was not clear what sparked the revival of the Clinton email investigation, but it was in August that a whistleblower from the U.S. intelligence community lodged a complaint, saying that Donald Trump was improperly pressuring Ukraine into digging up dirt on political rival Joe Biden’s family.
Sources said that those who were undertaking the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server were “under external pressure” to do so, but officials at the State Department denied that Trump had ordered them to revive the investigation.
“This has nothing to do with who is in the White House,” said an unnamed senior State Department official. “This is about the time it took to go through millions of emails.”
Trump stands accused of using the power of his office to push for an investigation into potential 2020 nominee Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. The White House released a summary of a phone call with the Ukrainian president in which Trump pushes him to investigate Hunter Biden’s business dealings. The whistleblower complaint also claims that the White House took steps to conceal the phone call, including moving it onto a secret server meant to hold highly classified secrets.
Many have pointed out the hypocrisy of Trump allegedly using this secret server after having attacked Clinton for years for her own use of one.
“Republicans have made it very clear that secret servers are a criminal offense,” Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic strategist who served on the Clinton campaign, told The Huffington Post. “Will they apply the same rules to Trump that they apply to everyone else?”