NEW YORK (AP) — Republican Donald Trump is suggesting that rival Hillary Clinton's emails may be responsible for the death of an Iranian nuclear scientist who was executed for spying for the United States.
Trump, using the "people are saying" sentence structure he often favors to make accusations, tweeted Monday night: "Many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton's hacked emails."
He didn't say which people he meant. The FBI has said there is no evidence that Clinton's emails were hacked due to her use of a private account and server during her tenure as secretary of state.
Clinton's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Trump supporter, suggested in an interview Sunday that there could be a link between the emails and the execution of Shahram Amiri.
Cotton said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that there "were on Hillary Clinton's private server, there were conversations among her senior advisers about this gentleman."
"That goes to show just how reckless and careless her decision was to put that kind of highly classified information on a private server," he said.
Amiri, an Iranian scientist, defected to the U.S. at the height of Western efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear program. When he returned in 2010, he was given a hero's welcome and greeted with flowers by government leaders. Then he mysteriously disappeared.
Amiri's case indirectly found its way into the spotlight last year with the release of State Department emails sent and received by Clinton.
One email forwarded to Clinton by senior adviser Jake Sullivan on July 5, 2010 — just 10 days before Amiri returned to Tehran — appears to reference the scientist.
"We have a diplomatic, 'psychological' issue, not a legal one. Our friend has to be given a way out," the email by Richard Morningstar, a former State Department special envoy for Eurasian energy, read. "Our person won't be able to do anything anyway. If he has to leave, so be it."
Another email, sent by Sullivan on July 12, 2010, appears to obliquely refer to the scientist just hours before his appearance at the Iranian-interests section at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington became widely known.
"The gentleman ... has apparently gone to his country's interests section because he is unhappy with how much time it has taken to facilitate his departure," Sullivan wrote.
Clinton's decision to store her emails on a private server in her New York home sparked an FBI investigation and has become a dominant issue in the presidential campaign.