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RNC Demands State Department Watchdog Investigate ‘Quid Pro Quo’ Reports

Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy / AP
• October 19, 2016 11:25 am

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The Republican National Committee demanded on Tuesday that the State Department watchdog open an investigation into reports that a senior official attempted to negotiate a "quid-pro-quo" agreement with the FBI to alter classifications of at least one of Hillary Clinton's emails.

The RNC sent the letter to the agency's inspector general after the allegations surfaced when the FBI published dozens of documents related to its probe into Clinton's private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

The FBI memos revealed that Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy had contacted the bureau repeatedly in 2015 offering to permit the FBI to place additional agents overseas in exchange for downgraded classifications.

The RNC wrote that the allegations of Kennedy attempting to sway the release of records in a manner that would benefit Clinton "undermines government transparency."

"To learn that a senior State Department official may have attempted to make a backroom deal to cover up the extent to which our national security was put at risk by Secretary Clinton's use of a secret email server is shocking and warrants an immediate review by your office," RNC chief counsel John Philippe Jr. wrote to the State Department Inspector General.

"Further, I request that your office investigate whether Mr. Kennedy made any additional quid-pro-quo offers to other federal agencies in relations to Secretary Clinton’s emails," he continued.

The State Department has denied the allegations.

Former FBI official Brian McCauley told the New York Times on Tuesday that he had initiated the conversation with Kennedy. McCauley said he offered to not classify one of Clinton's emails in exchange for the State Department restoring two spots in the Baghdad embassy, until he realized the email in question related to the 2012 Benghazi attack.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the allegation of an exchange between the agencies "does not align with the facts," noting that the department did upgrade the classification of the document in question at the request of the FBI.