— -- President Donald Trump in a tweet Tuesday morning appeared to suggest that a top aide to Hillary Clinton should be punished and possibly jailed for her handling of certain emails while at the State Department.
"Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid [sic], Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others," he wrote.
The tweet stems from the release of a cache of Abedin's emails by the State Department as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group.
Abedin's emails became a part of the 2016 presidential campaign when the FBI announced days before the election that investigators would re-examine Clinton's use of a private email server. It was later determined that Abedin had forwarded some emails to personal devices used by both she and her then-husband, the disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Last Friday the State Department released 139 emails and documents of Abedin’s.
The released emails included five that were marked classified, but only after they were initially sent or received. Before releasing the emails, the State Department reviewed them, labeling them as "confidential," the lowest level of classification.
Former FBI Director James Comey spoke about the nature of Abedin's email usage when he testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in May 2017. He said Abedin appeared to have a "regular practice" of forwarding classified emails to Weiner.
According to Comey, Abedin would send them to Weiner so he could print them out as "a matter of convenience."
Comey said the FBI completed the investigation into Abedin and couldn't prove there was any criminal intent, which is required in order to classify something as a criminal act in this situation.
"We didn't have any indication she had a sense what she was doing was in violation of the law," Comey said.
Trump's apparent attack on the Justice Department comes days after he asserted that he has full control of the department.
"I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department," he said in an interview with New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt while in Mar-a-Lago over the holidays.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders addressed the tweet in a briefing Tuesday afternoon.
“Obviously the facts of that case are very disturbing and I think the president wants to make clear that he doesn't feel that anyone should be above the law. In terms of any investigation, that would be something the Department of Justice would need to decide and I would refer you to them on whether or not they move forward,” she said.
Clinton’s former campaign communications director Nick Merrill issued a statement to ABC News slamming the tweet.
“Whenever Donald Trump needs a distraction, he runs the same, reliable play – tweet something about the Clintons or their associates,” Merrill said in the statement to ABC News.
“As Americans know all too well, there already was an investigation into all things email with no wrongdoing found by anyone. A year into his presidency, you would think Donald Trump would be focused on being president — or at least on his own legal problems,” he said.