Hillary Clinton distilled two years worth of hurt into a simple, biting tweet on Thursday evening as she responded to news that James Comey, whose pursuit of her personal email use she believes cost her the 2016 election, had conducted official business on a Gmail account.
“But my emails,” she said.
The pithy remark sent her supporters into raptures on social media as they pointed out the irony. And they repeated accusations that the former FBI director sabotaged her presidential campaign by publicly re-opening his investigation shortly before the election.
Hours earlier, the Justice Department’s inspector general released his report, accusing Mr Comey of errors of judgement in his handling of Mrs Clinton’s email investigation – although clearing him of any suggestion of bias.
Michael Horowitz also detailed “numerous instances” when the FBI director used his personal email for conducting official business. The practice was “inconsistent” with departmental policy, he said.
And, in another bitter irony, his report noted that Mr Comey himself had warned staff at an FBI conference in October 2016 they would face “huge trouble” if they used private email services as Mrs Clinton had done.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” said Kevin Mitnick on Twitter.
“Another day, another slay,” said a supportive account, after Mrs Clinton’s riposte.
The key part of the report concludes that the FBI director, who announced in July 2016 that Mrs Clinton had been "extremely careless" with classified material but would not be charged with any crime, repeatedly departed from normal Justice Department protocol.
He further announced in October of that year - 11 days before the election that he was reopening the investigation, even though the FBI does not usually comment publicly on investigations. It proved to be the investigation that refused to die.
Mr Trump narrowly won the election and dismissed Mr Comey months later, as the FBI director investigated allegations of Russian meddling.
Since then the former FBI director has published a memoir and emerged as one of Mr Trump's greatest critics.
FAQ | Hillary Clinton’s emails
What exactly did Hillary Clinton do?
From 2009 to 2013, Ms Clinton used a personal server and email address – [email protected] – during her four years as secretary of state. She also reportedly set up addresses for her aide, Huma Abedin, and State Department Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.
She did not activate or use an official state.gov email account. That account would have been hosted on secure US government servers.
Why did she use a personal email address for official correspondence?
During a press conference at the UN, Ms Clinton said that she preferred to carry just one smartphone with one email address, rather than have separate devices (one for work, one for personal emails). At the time, government-issued Blackberry phones were reportedly unable to access multiple email accounts.
Why was this controversial?
Critics claim there was a security risk if restricted government business was sent over personal email servers (Ms Clinton says no information in her emails was marked classified at the time she sent or received them).
They also say Ms Clinton could skirt around freedom of information requests, with sole control of what information was handed over to interested parties, such as the congressional committee investigating 2012’s Benghazi consulate attack.
Was it illegal?
It’s a grey area. Federal law during Ms Clinton’s tenure called for the archiving of such private email records when used for government work, but did not set out clear guidance or punishments for violations. Rules were subsequently tightened after she left office.
In 2011, when Clinton was secretary, a cable from her office sent to all employees advised them to avoid conducting any official business on their private email accounts because of targeting by unspecified “online adversaries”. In 2016 the FBI concluded that it had found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
How many emails were involved?
Ms Clinton says she sent or received 62,320 emails while secretary of state. Her lawyers say 30,490 of those were official and they’ve been turned over to the State Department. Ms Clinton said the remaining emails are about private matters, such as her daughter’s wedding and her mother’s funeral.
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Source: The Telegraph