President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening called for a closer look into a former intelligence committee watchdog’s claims to Fox News that Hillary Clinton’s campaign had a “strategic coordination” with the State Department to play down the presence of classified information on her private email server.
“Charles McCullough, the respected [former] Intel Comm Inspector General, said public was misled on Crooked Hillary Emails,” Trump tweeted. “‘Emails endangered National Security.’ Why aren’t our deep State authorities looking at this? Rigged & corrupt?”
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Monday, former Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough III said he suffered “personal blowback” over his pursuit of the email investigation. McCullough claimed the Clinton campaign put out word that he would be fired if the Democratic nominee won last year’s presidential election.
“I’m well aware there was strategic coordination between the [Clinton] campaign, the State Department, certain officials in the State Department, certain law firms in [Washington D.C.] and people on Capitol Hill and I think that bore itself out in the Podesta emails,” McCullough told Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
In January 2016, McCullough told Republican leadership on the Senate intelligence and foreign affairs committees that emails beyond the “Top Secret” level passed through Clinton’s unsecured personal server.
“The [intelligence] agencies were quite unhappy about what was going on. They were not happy that their information was not protected the way it should have been,” McCullough told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. ” … When we heard about this to begin with, that there was an unsecured server, frankly, we looked at each other and said, ‘Who does that? What rules even apply to that?'”
McCullough has insisted that he was merely attempting to do his job.
“As an IG, you’re not a D[emocrat], you’re not an R[epublican], you’re an I. You’re an IG, those are the letters that matter for you,” he said. “And so, obviously what they resorted to was ‘OK, this guy’s just a pawn of the right, he’s a shill of the right and attack the messenger,’ and that’s what happened.”
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne and Cyd Upson contributed to this report.