Trump claims Comey ‘exonerated’ Clinton before email probe was over

President Trump on Friday seized on a letter from two Republican senators claiming evidence that FBI Director James Comey cleared former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much GOP challenger seizes on outrage against Massie Juan Williams: Mueller, one year on MORE of wrongdoing over her private email server before concluding his investigation.

In a message on Twitter, Trump said it looked like Comey had "exonerated" Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee for president, before the investigation was over.

“Wow, looks like James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over...and so much more. A rigged system!” he tweeted.

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyPelosi floats undoing SALT deduction cap in next coronavirus bill Democrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus Coronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner MORE (R-Iowa) and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump reviews Pelosi on morning TV: 'She wasn't bad' Encryption helps America work safely – and that goes for Congress, too Graham: Pelosi comment on Trump is 'most shameful, disgusting statement by any politician in modern history' MORE (R-S.C.) released a letter to the new FBI director on Thursday that claims transcripts of interviews between a federal watchdog agency and FBI officials show Comey began writing a statement clearing Clinton in May, before interviewing her or other aides connected to the former secretary of State.

At the time Comey began writing the statement, the FBI had been investigating Clinton's use of the private email server for State Department business since July of the previous year. Comey announced no charges would be brought against Clinton in July 2016.

The two senators in their letter said it was wrong for Comey to draft any statement before concluding his interviews.

“These individuals had intimate and personal knowledge relating to Secretary Clinton’s non-government server, including helping her build and administer the device,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second — that’s no way to run an investigation. The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy,” Grassley and Graham wrote.

The claims could provide evidence that Comey mishandled the Clinton investigation, which was the Trump administration's initial explanation for why the president fired him.

Trump later said he had Comey's investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election in mind when he fired Comey.

Comey later testified that he believed Trump had fired him because he was unhappy with the Russian probe.

The firing led to the appointment of a special counsel, Robert Mueller, to investigate Russia and any links between Trump's team and Moscow's efforts to influence the outcome of hte election.