Former Democratic Party chair Howard Dean was not prepared for his interview on Monday afternoon when MSNBC asked him about the FBI releasing new documents revealing a "quid pro quo" conversation between the State Department and FBI regarding Hillary Clinton's private email server.
One of the released documents reveal notes from an interview that the FBI conducted internally with an official in the records management division, Politico reported, revealing senior State official Patrick Kennedy requesting an email from Clinton's server have its classification altered:
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In an exchange that included redacted names, the interview notes state that "[REDACTED] received a call from [REDACTED] of the International Operations Division (IOD) of the FBI, who ‘pressured’ him to change the classified email to unclassified. [REDACTED] indicated he had been contacted by PATRICK KENNEDY, Undersecretary of State, who had asked his assistance in altering the email’s classification in exchange for a ‘quid pro quo.’"
Thomas Roberts asked Dean to comment on this new release and explain how Clinton's presidential campaign was going to get in front of the story.
Dean was confused from the outset, seeming to think it was related to the WikiLeaks release of John Podesta's messages.
"This sounds like nothing. Who's saying this?" Dean said. "This is nothing. The last couple of batches e-mails have revealed exactly nothing now. Who is pushing this notion?"
Roberts was trying to interject to let Dean know that he was asking about the FBI documents, not WikiLeaks, but Dean would not let him speak. When Roberts was finally able to speak, he corrected Dean and told him that he was not talking about WikiLeaks.
"This new information is because of the notes that were taken during interviews, the release of information, certain redacted portions of conversations between FBI and State [Department] and what it meant with that statement for quid pro quo. The assertion coming from the FBI to State," Roberts said.
"They're all big questions. This is nothing. Somebody made this up. This is innuendo leaked by the Russians for their own political preference. I don't get it," Dean said.
Roberts corrected Dean again and told him that he wasn't talking about WikiLeaks, but was interrupted by Dean.
"Is this Jason Chaffetz' stuff?" Dean asked.
"This is an unnamed FBI official who's made these documents alleging Patrick Kennedy of wrongdoing, that he was trying to help influence what was taking place between the investigation of Hillary Clinton's State Department," Roberts said.
Dean once again dismissed the documents and said that they don't make sense to him.
"This makes no sense to me at all. This sounds like late in the campaign tricks that are meaningless. There is no there, there. I don't understand where the there is. It is not plausible for Patrick Kennedy to be involved doing something to get the FBI to change the State Department investigation. This is crazy," Dean said.
Roberts then switched the topic to the final presidential debate on Wednesday since Dean clearly did not understand the context of the new batch of FBI documents. When asked about Clinton's strategy at the debate, Dean continued his criticism of attacks against Clinton and said that there was nothing there.