Never one to shy away from a conspiracy theory, Donald Trump on Monday claimed that Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state led to this week’s execution of an Iranian nuclear scientist.
Many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2016
Journalists who have followed the strange case of Sharam Amiri, including the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin, immediately called Trump out for the lack of evidence to bolster his assertion.
Amiri was a former employee of the academic center of research for the Iranian nuclear program who reportedly defected to the United States in 2009. In contradictory videos that appeared about a year later, a man claiming to be Amiri said that he was kidnapped and tortured by Saudi and American forces during his time in the U.S. In the other video, he said he was in the U.S. of his own free will.
Amiri returned to Iran to government fanfare in 2010, according to the Associated Press, but soon went missing. On Sunday, Iranian officials announced that he had been convicted for revealing state secrets to the U.S. and hanged.
The supposed Clinton connection to Amiri’s death was first made Sunday by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) on “Face The Nation,” where he noted that Clinton officials had discussed the scientist’s case on emails that ran through her personal server.
“In the emails that were on Hillary Clinton’s private server, there were conversations among her senior advisors about this gentleman,” Cotton said. “That goes to show just how reckless and careless her decision was to put that kind of highly classified information on a private server.”
According to the Post’s Rogin, the Iranian government was well aware of Amiri’s case before the Clinton staffers’ emails were made public last year as part of the investigation into her use of a private server. The FBI has also found no evidence that Clinton’s server was hacked.
“There’s no reasonable connection between the discussion of Amiri’s case on email by Clinton’s staff to Amiri’s eventual execution,” Rogin concluded.
Clinton spokesperson Jesse Lehrich told the Post that the claims of Cotton and Trump were “baseless.”
“He and his supporters continue to use increasingly desperate rhetoric to attack Hillary Clinton and make absurd accusations because they have no ideas for the American people,” Lehrich said.