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Clinton Camp Spoke With Justice Dept. During Email Lawsuit

Hillary Clinton aide Brian Fallon was in touch with the Department of Justice during litigation involving Clinton’s use of a private email server
Image: Hillary Clinton
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally at Wayne State University in Detroit, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Andrew Harnik / AP

Hillary Clinton aide Brian Fallon was in touch with the Department of Justice during litigation involving Clinton emails to be released to the public, according to emails released by WikiLeaks purportedly from her campaign chairman John Podesta's Gmail account.

“DOJ folks inform me there is a status hearing in this case this morning,” Fallon emailed a group of staffers in May 2015. It is unclear how much contact Fallon was in with Justice Department officials. The hearing he refers to was a public court hearing, the details of which are publicly available through the court.

The email released Tuesday renews allegations from Republicans that the Department of Justice investigation was inappropriate, and unusually cozy with the subject of their investigation, former Secretary of State Clinton, and is sure to heighten Republican nominee Donald Trump's attacks on her.

Trump re-tweeted a copy of the email on Tuesday.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller called for the Justice Department to release their communications with Clinton’s campaign saying the email “shows a level of collusion which calls into question the entire investigation.”

University of Minnesota professor Richard Painter, author of “Getting The Government America Deserves: How Ethics Reform Can Make A Difference,” said the key question is whether the campaign colluded over strategy or coordinated responses. In reading the email, Painter said, “I didn’t see any of that collusion,” adding that seeking to find out “the status of a case is pretty routine.”

The Clinton campaign told NBC News they “won’t have a comment” on the specifics of the email, but they have widely blamed the WikiLeaks revelations on Russian-state hackers.

On Tuesday, the campaign criticized Trump for his repeated suggestion that there was no evidence Russian-state operators are behind the recent slew of hacks targeting American political operatives. U.S. intelligence officials have said they have a “high confidence” that Russian-state operators were behind the DNC hack.

"Donald Trump has once again cheered on Russian hacking after he willfully misrepresented at the debate that hacking may not be happening,” a Clinton campaign official said in a statement of the Podesta hack on Tuesday.

“Even after he was reportedly briefed on the very findings that were announced publicly by U.S. government officials, he stood on a debate stage twice and played dumb about Russia's role in this hack.”