On Wednesday morning he tweeted early that the email server of his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was hacked by the Chinese government. He also said Clinton’s emails were obtained illegally by China and called upon the U.S. Justice Department to launch an investigation into the matter in order to keep its credibility.
“Hillary Clinton’s Emails, many of which are Classified Information, got hacked by China. Next move better be by the FBI & DOJ or, after all of their other missteps (Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr, FISA, Dirty Dossier etc.), their credibility will be forever gone!”
Hillary Clinton’s Emails, many of which are Classified Information, got hacked by China. Next move better be by the FBI & DOJ or, after all of their other missteps (Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr, FISA, Dirty Dossier etc.), their credibility will be forever gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018
Usually in situations like this Trump will send a tweet about some unsubstantiated claim or rumor or false report that he has seen on Fox News. That does not seem to be the case here, but in his tweet he did not cite any evidence for the claim.
One possible source for Trump’s misinformed tweet is an article on the right-wing website The Daily Caller. That article quoted unnamed intelligence sources who said that Clinton‘s private email server was compromised by the Chinese. It says that this “fact” was discovered in 2015.
One unnamed intelligence source told the news outlet that Clinton‘s email server was compromised by a public company acting as a front for the Chinese government. The source said the company put a line of code into the email server which caused a “courtesy copy” of every Clinton email to be sent to Chinese intelligence agents.
The unnamed source told the Daily Caller that:
“When [the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General] did a very deep dive, they found in the actual metadata — the data which is at the header and footer of all the emails — that a copy, a ‘courtesy copy,’ was being sent to a third party and that third party was a known Chinese public company that was involved in collecting intelligence for China.”
This information has not been confirmed by any U.S. intelligence officials. From Trump’s tweet it is impossible to determine if he was making his claim based on additional information he received that was not reported in the Daily Caller story.
China, as expected, immediately denied the report in a statement, saying it “firmly oppose[s]” cyberattacks and the theft of state secrets.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve heard similar kinds of allegations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing.
“China is a staunch defender of cybersecurity. We firmly oppose and crack down on any forms of internet attacks and the stealing of secrets,” she added.