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CAIR slams Trump over Huma Abedin tweet

010218 Higgins CAIR Abedin photo
After President Trump tweeted that Huma Abedin (pictured above), one of Hillary Clinton's top aides, should be arrested, the Council of American-Islamic Relations said Trump is attempting to use the Justice Department to shut down his opponents. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Council of American-Islamic Relations slammed President Trump Tuesday for implying in a tweet that top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin should be jailed for her reckless handling of classified materials.

The Muslim civil rights group said Trump is attempting to use the Justice Department to shut down his opponents.

"Calling for the imprisonment of political rivals is a clear attempt by President Trump to further politicize the Department of Justice," said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw. "Every American who values the constitutional guarantee of due process should be outraged by the president's statements."

Early Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted: "Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aide, 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."

Trump was reacting to the release by the State Department of emails sent and received by Abedin while she was a staffer during Clinton's 2009-11 tenure as secretary of state. Abedin sometimes sent or received sensitive government information through a private laptop owned by her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., a situation that made the messages potentially available to hackers. The FBI has investigated Clinton for using private servers located at her New York home for State Department business.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said during the White House press briefing that Trump was merely calling for the Justice Department to complete any investigation into the matter. "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," Sanders said.

Abedin is the American-born daughter of Indian immigrants and reportedly a practicing Muslim. She has been a long-time confidant of Clinton's, having served as a top aide to her in the Senate and State Department as well as having been heavily involved in her various election campaigns.

CAIR has been a persistent critic of Trump's, calling his efforts to ban immigration from six predominantly Muslim countries an example of "bigotry and lawlessness."