Clinton email investigator: Trump's abuse of classified information is not the same thing
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

On Tuesday, POLITICO reported that the Department of Justice counterintelligence official who helped oversee the 2016 investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email server — a case that focused on whether she had improperly retained classified information on her personal devices — says the investigation into former President Donald Trump's removal of classified information is in a completely separate league from what he was investigating.

"'People sling these cases around to suit their political agenda but every case has to stand on its own circumstances,' said David Laufman, who led the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section until 2018 and is now a partner at the firm Wiggin and Dana," reported Kyle Cheney. "Laufman has the credentials to judge the severity of these matters. In addition to the Clinton case, he managed the investigation of David Petraeus, the former general and CIA director who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for mishandling classified material. CNN reported that one of the DOJ officials involved in the Trump investigation is his immediate successor."

The analysis comes after the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago country club in Palm Beach, Florida, where they reportedly confiscated 10 boxes of documents — an extraordinary and unprecedented legal action against a former president.

“For the department to pursue a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago tells me that the quantum and quality of the evidence they were reciting — in a search warrant and affidavit that an FBI agent swore to — was likely so pulverizing in its force as to eviscerate any notion that the search warrant and this investigation is politically motivated,” said Laufman.

The Clinton email case, which dominated the news cycle in 2016 and wounded her presidential campaign, ultimately ended in no charges, although then-FBI Director James Comey publicly chastised Clinton for her "careless" records retention policies. Trump, then a presidential candidate himself, relentlessly claimed Clinton was guilty of national security crimes, and "Lock Her Up!" became a common chant at his rallies.

"In the absence of more detailed information about the investigation, it’s unclear what potential crimes DOJ is probing," noted the report. "Notably, Trump — after a fierce campaign against Clinton in which he called for her to be jailed for her handling of classified material — signed a law in 2018 that stiffened the penalty for the unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents from one year to five years, turning it into a felony offense."

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