6 times Donald Trump attacked Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information

The president's rhetoric changed after taking office, blaming the intelligence community itself

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The Independent Online

Donald Trump, accused of leaking classified information to Russia during a meeting in the Oval Office, has seemingly done exactly what he has been criticising Hillary Clinton for since the 2016 presidential campaign. 

Ms Clinton was being investigated by the FBI for purportedly using private email servers to send classified emails while she was Secretary of State. No charges were brought and the case has been closed, however it began a string a comments from Mr Trump on the matter of classified information sharing. 

Here are six times he attacked Ms Clinton over her handling of classified information:

1. A 'very big deal'

It appears to begin in 2015 on Twitter, when Mr Trump said Ms Clinton’s emails were “a very big deal”. 

2. 'Extremely careless'

During July 2015 rally in North Carolina, Mr Trump then said that the FBI called Ms Clinton “extremely careless,” but he thought she was “grossly incompetent” and putting Americans lives at risk. 

3. 'Not fit'

The next year in July 2016 tied Ms Clinton's ability to be president with her mishandling of classified information and said she was "not fit" for the job. 

4. 'Wouldn't pass a background check'

During a speech in Virginia Beach, Virgina the same month, Mr Trump said that if “elected, Hillary Clinton would become the first president of the United States who wouldn't be able to pass a background check.“

5. 'Like the Cold War...'

As the campaign wore on, Mr Trump brought Russia and the Cold War into the discussion of classified information leaking. 

During a speech in North Carolina in September 2016, he said “Like the Cold War, we also need to fight this battle by collecting intelligence and then protecting our classified secrets.”

6. 'RIGGED!'

Mr Trump claimed the FBI investigation into Ms Clinton's use of a private server was "rigged" because she was not charged, trusting Wikileaks as a source of reliable information. It furthered his continued rhetoric that mass news outlets were and continue to be what he deems "fake media." 

However, after he took office his rhetoric seemed to shift to focus on what he deemed as dangerous and “curious” leaks within Washington and the intelligence community itself, rather than Ms Clinton. 

His perspective may have changed after being in office for several weeks in February 2017 when he tweeted that the New York Times should not have reported on a story regarding information about White House internal politics as well as a report about his call with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. 

As late as March 2017 however, Mr Trump appeared to understand the severity of leaking information but still put the focus outside of the White House on those serving as media sources rather than his administration’s officials.

Later that month he did tell Time magazine that month though that he understood “you can go to prison” for leaking classified information. However, in the wake of the report that he did so to Russia, Mr Trump and his surrogates have explained the president can declassify information should he deem necessary. 

There is a legal debate in Washington regarding Mr Trump’s actions, with some opponents calling for impeachment. 

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