Trump's Campaign Message Focuses On Clinton's Private Email Server

Sep 7, 2016
Originally published on September 7, 2016 8:12 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In the presidential campaign, Donald Trump is using last week's FBI report on Hillary Clinton's private email servers as ammunition against his Democratic opponent. As NPR's Scott Detrow reports from Greenville, N.C., this line of attack by Trump is becoming the central theme of a more focused fall campaign.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: In North Carolina, where the race is razor thin, Donald Trump laid into Hillary Clinton, saying she should be disqualified from serving as president. That mirrors an attack line the Democrat has been making against Trump for months. Some of Trump's attacks didn't jive with reality. He said Clinton never talks about policy when she campaigns. In fact, she peppers her speeches with plans and proposals. But the FBI's recently released report on its interview with Clinton about her private email server handed Trump a powerful weapon. The document almost served as the CliffsNotes for Trump's Tuesday speech.

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DONALD TRUMP: We can't have someone in the Oval Office who doesn't understand the meaning of the word confidential or classified.

DETROW: Clinton told agents that she didn't realize that emails marked C were classified. Trump also pointed to new revelations that an I.T. contractor used a program called BleachBit to delete emails after the initial news reports about Clinton's private server. Trump even referenced Clinton's statement last year that she had only deleted personal emails, like notes about the plans for her daughter Chelsea's wedding.

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TRUMP: Yoga and the wedding - why are you - when you delete 33,000 - I figure five for the wedding and two for the yoga, right? So that's seven. But why do you acid wash or bleach the emails?

DETROW: Clinton has repeatedly said it was a mistake to only use one email account rather than separate private and work addresses. And the FBI did not recommend any charges based on its investigation. But expect Trump's critiques to continue. The Republican has been increasingly scripted in recent weeks, and it's clear that a major part of his message going forward will be these attacks on Clinton, that and the argument that only a political outsider like him can transform Washington.

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TRUMP: So to every American who has been waiting for real change, your wait is over. Your moment of liberation is at hand.

DETROW: Trump campaigns in Philadelphia and New York today. Tonight, both he and Clinton will take part in a town hall forum focused on the military and national security. Scott Detrow, NPR News, Greenville, N.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.