PANAMA CITY, FL - Donald Trump spent the night taking aim squarely at his Democratic rival and not, as some expected, hitting “disloyal Republicans” in his own party who have denounced him, as he did earlier in the day.
He excoriated Hillary Clinton for the information allegedly revealed through a WikiLeaks publication of supposedly hacked emails of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chair.
The Clinton campaign has neither confirmed nor denied officially that the emails are genuine and ABC News has not independently verified the emails. But Podesta, speaking to reporters on Tuesday, said, "I think it is clear I'm the victim of a hack,” adding that the hack was being investigated by the FBI. Podesta alleged that the hacks were instigated by Russia and the U.S. said it is "confident" that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of e-mails, including from U.S. political organizations, said the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence in a joint statement.
Trump, speaking in an outdoor amphitheater, began the onslaught. "The Hillary Clinton documents released today by Wikileaks make more clear than ever just how much is at stake in this election. So much corruption,” he said.
He went on to pick apart specific emails. In one alleged instance, Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon forwarded an email he received from an unknown sender suggesting a rolling out timeline from the Department of Justice for releasing her State Dept. emails. He also allegedly emailed staffers telling them that “DOJ folks” informed him that a status hearing would be happening that morning.
It is fairly common practice for attorneys to give a heads up to others involved or named in any type of case when filings are made. The correspondence appeared to have regarded updates on the case, information that may have already been public at the time. Some of this information was reported on by news outlets, including this one, hours after the email was sent.
Trump on Tuesday though, suggested the chain was evidence of “collusion.”
"Today we learned, amazingly, that the Department of Justice fed information to the Clinton campaign about the email investigation so that the campaign could be prepared to cover up her crimes. What is going on?”
He added, "This is collusion and corruption of the highest order and is one more reason why I ask my attorney general--I will ask to appoint a special prosecutor.”
Trump also references an alleged email in which Interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Donna Brazile, appeared to give the Clinton campaign a heads up on a CNN Town Hall. Brazile was formerly a political commentator for the network.
"The emails also show that Hillary was given the CNN town hall questions before her big debate against Bernie sanders. Donna Brazile, the DNC, vice chair emailed from time to time I get questions in advance she said. Oh that’s fair. Do you think that’s fair to Bernie? Really aren’t we starting to feel sorry for Bernie sanders? A little bit right?"
Brazile denies allegations that she acted improperly and released this statement.
“As a longtime political activist with deep ties to our party, I supported all of our candidates for president. I often shared my thoughts with each and every campaign, and any suggestions that indicate otherwise are simply untrue. As it pertains to the CNN Debates, I never had access to questions and would never have shared them with the candidates if I did."
Later in the rally, Trump joked about push-back he received for appearing to loom over Clinton during the debate. He attempted to defend himself, saying that he was standing at his podium when Clinton came over to him.
“She entered my space, right? But did you see what she said? That I entered her space. I didn’t move. And I was very careful because years ago somebody did come in and talk to her, and the poor guy Lazio, he got just killed. So I said I’m not getting near this woman. No, I’m not getting near this woman at all. No interest. No interest. I have no interest,” Trump said, referring to Rick Lazio, Clinton’s opponent in her 2000 Senate campaign.
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