Donald Trump suggested Tuesday that he believes President Obama may have influenced the FBI’s decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton over her mishandling of classified information, the culmination of a detailed investigation into her use of a private email server as secretary of state.
The presumptive GOP presidential nominee, speaking to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Tuesday, raised questions about the timing of the announcement, which came on the same day as Obama joined Clinton on the campaign trail for the first time this election. He also pointed to former president Bill Clinton’s impromptu meeting with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch last week, which critics have blasted as a conflict of interest.
“I think it’s extremely unusual that he is speaking two hours after the so-called exoneration, that he’s speaking in North Carolina where I’m heading right now by the way. I’m going to Raleigh where we have a big crowd,” Trump told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Tuesday, according to a transcript. “But I think it’s a very unusual set of circumstances and it began with President Clinton going onto an airplane just like, ‘Oh gee, hey, this is wonderful.’”
When O’Reilly pressed Trump on whether he was directly accusing the president of influencing the case, Trump demurred. He added that he will “look into it” and said that “we will see what we shall see.” He added in another instance that he has great respect for the FBI.
“It was very strange, the timing. I see him talking, making a speech a couple of hours after this happened. Certainly it was very strange to be having your meeting with the FBI on one of the biggest holidays of the year, 4th of July weekend,” he said. “And they’re having meetings on Saturday, and then the speech. And everybody knew she was going to be in North Carolina on Monday and then the semi-exoneration.”
Trump called the decision not to recommend charges a “miscarriage of justice” — but he said that he has “such respect” for the FBI.
“She made great mistakes and it sounded to me like there was no choice but to convict, or to go to some form of very harsh punishment, and they didn’t do that. And I can tell you, everyone was stunned at the end because, if you listen to it, it sounds like she had horrible judgment, she didn’t know what she was doing,” Trump said.
The full interview will air Tuesday evening.