Former U.S. Attorney Nick Akerman knows a thing or two about political scandal. The former Watergate prosecutor also happens to be a nationally recognized expert on computer crime and the protection of sensitive computer data and information, according to his biography. Perhaps that’s why he finds Donald Trump’s claims that “this is bigger than Watergate” to be “totally absurd.”
Trump began his Friday rally in New Hampshire celebrating the news about the FBI reexamining Hillary Clinton’s emails. He then proclaimed the update was bigger than the biggest political scandal in history, The Hill reports. In a Friday night rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Trump also mentioned the scandal but said that it was the biggest scandal “since” Watergate.
“Donald Trump’s statement that this is bigger than Watergate is totally absurd,” he said, according to a tweet from Mic reporter Celeste Katz.
— Celeste Katz (@CelesteKatzNYC) October 28, 2016
“There is no evidence of any violation of law,” Akerman said. “For Trump to reach that conclusion based on a total lack of evidence is reminiscent of the innuendo spread by Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s.”
Akerman also took issue with FBI Director James Comey’s letter sent to Congress, saying that it was too vague.
“He had no business writing to Congress about supposed new emails that neither he nor anyone in the FBI has ever reviewed,” he continued. “It is not the function of the FBI Director to be making public pronouncements about an investigation, never mind an investigation based on evidence that he acknowledges may not be significant.”
The Washington Post quoted a memo Comey sent to employees on Friday acknowledging that the FBI does not yet know the importance of the new emails discovered.
“Given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression,” Comey wrote.
Author and former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein agrees with Akerman. In a panel discussion with Anderson Cooper Friday, Bernstein laughed off the idea that Clinton’s email problems were anything like Watergate.
“It’s not Watergate,” he said. “Watergate was about a criminal president of the United States, who presided over a criminal administration from the day he took office to the day he left.”
Bernstein, however, did acknowledge that it was “a hugely serious event.”
Clinton has asked that the FBI release the information about the scope of their inquiry.
“The American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately,” she said in a press conference. “The director himself has said he doesn’t know whether the emails referenced in his letter are significant or not. I’m confident whatever they are will not change the conclusion reached in July.”