World

'Many people are saying' Clinton emails to blame for Iranian scientist's execution, Trump tweets

Donald Trump is suggesting that rival Hillary Clinton's emails may be responsible for the death of an Iranian nuclear scientist who was executed for spying. The FBI has said there is no evidence that Clinton's emails were hacked when she was secretary of state.

FBI has said there is no evidence Democratic candidate's emails were hacked when she was secretary of state

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers an economic policy speech to the Detroit Economic Club, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, in Detroit. He later tweeted that 'many people are saying' the execution of a U.S. spy is linked to the Hillary Clinton email scandal. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

Republican Donald Trump is suggesting that rival Hillary Clinton's emails may be responsible for the death of an Iranian nuclear scientist who was executed for spying for the United States.

Hours after an unusually disciplined speech on his economic plan for the country, Trump, using the "people are saying" sentence structure he often favours to make accusations, tweeted Monday night:

"Many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton's hacked emails."

He didn't say which people he meant. The FBI has said there is no evidence that Clinton's emails were hacked due to her use of a private account and server during her tenure as secretary of state.

Tweeted back Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill:

"'Many people are saying'='I made this up."'

The exchange prompted the hashtag #ManyPeopleAreSaying, mocking Trump's comments.

Merrill added that after Trump's morning speech to the Detroit Economic Club — and sticking closely to his script — "the muzzle was bound to come off."

Trump's speech was designed in part to reassure Republicans unnerved by a disastrous week of self-inflicted feuds with an assortment of people, from grieving Muslim American parents to the leaders of Trump's own party. Clinton's campaign cast his tweet Monday night as evidence that, in the words of spokesman Josh Schwerin, "There's just no resetting Donald Trump."

Trump isn't the first to suggest there could be a link between Clinton's emails on her private server and the execution of Shahram Amiri.

Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton said on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday that there "were on Hillary Clinton's private server, there were conversations among her senior advisers about this gentleman."

"That goes to show just how reckless and careless her decision was to put that kind of highly classified information on a private server," he said.

Amiri, an Iranian scientist, defected to the U.S. at the height of Western efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear program. When he returned in 2010, he was given a hero's welcome and greeted with flowers by government leaders. Then he mysteriously disappeared.

Emails appear to reference Amiri

Amiri's case indirectly found its way into the spotlight last year with the release of State Department emails sent and received by Clinton.

One email forwarded to Clinton by senior adviser Jake Sullivan on July 5, 2010 — just 10 days before Amiri returned to Tehran — appears to reference the scientist.

"We have a diplomatic, 'psychological' issue, not a legal one. Our friend has to be given a way out," the email by Richard Morningstar, a former State Department special envoy for Eurasian energy, read. "Our person won't be able to do anything anyway. If he has to leave, so be it."

Another email, sent by Sullivan on July 12, 2010, appears to obliquely refer to the scientist just hours before his appearance at the Iranian-interests section at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington became widely known.

"The gentleman ... has apparently gone to his country's interests section because he is unhappy with how much time it has taken to facilitate his departure," Sullivan wrote.

Clinton's decision to store her emails on a private server in her New York home sparked an FBI investigation and has become a dominant issue in the presidential campaign.

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