Quid Pro Quo: Top State Department Official Offered Deal To FBI If It Would Change Classification Of Clinton Emails

220px-patrick-f-kennedy_2002I have previously written that recent disclosures over immunity deals with Clinton aides has seriously undermined the credibility of the FBI investigation into the email scandal and raises legitimate questions over the role of top ranking Justice Department officials in the closing of the investigation without criminal charges. Now a far more serious allegation has surfaced with the release of a FBI “302” that states that State Department Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy proposed a “quid pro quo” to convince the FBI to strip the classification on an email from Hillary Clinton’s server. The FBI agent reported the encounter as an effort to “influence” the FBI in return to giving the Bureau long-sought agent placements overseas. Such an offer is more than a standard inter-agency “horse trade.” If the agent’s account is accurate, it was an effort to influence a criminal investigation to protect a high ranking politician and, additionally, an effort to alter a key piece of evidence. The fact that such an effort would be simply brushed aside by the FBI is shocking in itself and again raises questions over Director James Comey’s pledge to pursue any possible charges with independence and vigor. The FBI and State Department, as discussed below, have insisted that there was nothing untoward in the discussions and there is a difference in factual accounts. That is all the more reason for congressional oversight and investigation in my opinion.

Hillary_Clinton_Testimony_to_House_Select_Committee_on_BenghaziThe notes from an interview with an unnamed FBI official concern the effort to de-classify a particular email marked “SECRET.” Such classified emails were very damaging to Hillary Clinton and her campaign. Despite her decision to not to use the expensive, secured system at the State Department, Clinton insisted in a Fox interview that “I take classification seriously.”  
When asked about the finding that she sent classified emails, she objected to that take on the FBI findings: “That’s not what I heard Director Comey say. Comey said that my answers were truthful and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people.”  She repeated that the emails found to be classified were “retroactively” classified, which is not true. However, Comey said that 110 of her emails contained information that was classified at the time she sent or received them. He also said that a smaller number emails had markings showing them to be classified.  She added that “Director Comey said my answers were truthful and consistent with what I have told the American people.” However, Comey called her careless in her use of the personal server and the sending of these emails.  He also directly contradicted her on the classification of the emails and the Washington Post gave Clinton “Four Pinnochios” for continued spin of the investigation and its findings.

Now we have this suggested quid pro quo from Kennedy described in the 302 to “pressure” the Bureau to drop the classification:

“[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,’” the 302 states. “[Redacted] advised that in exchange for marking the email unclassified, STATE would reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more Agents in countries where they are presently forbidden.”

Kennedy later headed a meeting on the classification issue with the FBI, the agent describes how someone asked if any of the emails are classified and the agent reported the following to his superiors: “Making eye contact with [redacted] KENNEDY remarked, ‘Well, we’ll see.’” The agent left no ambiguity over what the State Department was trying to do in “attempting to influence the FBI to change its markings.”

Kennedy did not leave it there and asked to effectively go over the head of the agent and was referred to Michael Steinbach with the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. Kennedy “continued to pressure the FBI to change the classified markings on the email to unclassified . . STEINBACH refused to do so.”

Kennedy however persisted and sought to confirm that the FBI would not make any public statement. Shortly after being told that the Bureau would not reveal the information, Clinton publicly denied having sent classified emails on her server.

As a criminal defense lawyer, I find the 302 to be astounding. Can you imagine what would have happened if I pressured an agent to change a critical piece of exchange in a quid pro quo? I would have been immediately accused of unethical or charged criminally or both. Moreover, such an effort in a criminal investigation usually deepens the suspicion of criminal activity and gives the FBI leverage in pressuring witnesses on who was aware of the effort to pressure or influence investigators.

The role of the State Department in the various investigations has been subject to ongoing criticism of bias. This 302 should be a matter of focused congressional investigation. Any connection drawn between adding agents and stripping classification is facially improper. What is equally disturbing is the response of the State Department to simply dismiss any concerns over the 302.

What is also curious is the disconnect between the current FBI position and the 302. Here is what the FBI is now maintaining:

“The FBI determined that one such email was classified at the Secret level. A senior State Department official requested the FBI re-review that email to determine whether it was in fact classified or whether it might be protected from release under a different FOIA exemption. A now-retired FBI official, who was not part of the subsequent Clinton investigation, told the State Department official that they would look into the matter. Having been previously unsuccessful in attempts to speak with the senior State official, during the same conversation, the FBI official asked the State Department official if they would address a pending, unaddressed FBI request for space for additional FBI employees assigned abroad. Following the call, the FBI official consulted with a senior FBI executive responsible for determining the classification of the material and determined the email was in fact appropriately classified at the Secret level.”

The FBI insisted to Fox News that “[a]lthough there was never a quid pro quo, these allegations were nonetheless referred to the appropriate officials for review.” It is not clear what that means. Is the FBI basically saying that the 302 author made up or exaggerated his or her account. Clearly there was no quid pro quo in that the classification was not changed. However, that is not the concern. The concern is whether there was an attempted quid pro quo. The FBI seems to suggest that it was a FBI official who raised the agent issue first. That is important, but it raises still raises the question of why the two issues were discussed at the same time and whether Kennedy later made this linkage to an agent.

There is ample reason for Congress to exercise its oversight authority to find out the truth behind these allegations. Indeed, this is a classic matter for oversight. Congress is the critical check on the executive branch, particularly when agencies are accused of collusion or conflicts of interest. It is hard to imagine how Congress would just walk away from such an allegation without investigation and this should not be a partisan matter. Democrats and Republicans alike should want answers to whether a quid pro quo deal was suggested in a criminal investigation of high-ranking government and former government officials.

144 thoughts on “Quid Pro Quo: Top State Department Official Offered Deal To FBI If It Would Change Classification Of Clinton Emails”

  1. According to JT: “The fact that such an effort would be simply brushed aside by the FBI is shocking in itself and again raises questions over Director James Comey’s pledge to pursue any possible charges with independence and vigor. The FBI and State Department, as discussed below, have insisted that there was nothing untoward in the discussions and there is a difference in factual accounts. That is all the more reason for congressional oversight and investigation in my opinion.”

    Sorry, JT, but there’s nothing “shocking” about the FBI’s misconduct and failure to follow proper procedures. The FBI IS a fraudulent organization. Nor will there be any real congressional “oversight” not “investigation” of the FBI. Comey, of course, is a serial liar and is simply a political weasel, and he always has been. So look for more of the same on those fronts.

    As for Congress, although they like to engage in TV histrionics that make the congressman appear to be “vigorously” pursuing the truth, they too are simply doing some political posturing and are complete phonies. This includes such phonies as Jason Chaffetz, Jody Hice, John Mica, and Trey Gowdy, to name but a few. None of them are interested in the truth and they are doing everything in their powers to protect the FBI from attack.

    In fact, the intelligent Americans are completely fed up with both the Republicans and the Democrats and their sham “attacks” on one another, when they recognize that the real game is that they are joining together to screw America and Americans for the benefit of the political establishment and the Power Establishment that control them (which, of course, is favoring Hillary Clinton, as anyone paying attention to the media presstitutes understands).

    That is why anyone with intelligence, political savvy, and a commitment to America could not possibly be voting for Clinton. And it also explains why they are generally voting for Trump (as opposed to Johnson), as he is the best protest vote to make against the Establishment.

  2. Manning’s doing 35 god only knows what Snowden or Assange would get – all exposing government crimes.

    Cripe even Podesta and Sterling got worse than Hillary for far less and that’s not even including her war crimes

    who would ever trust this woman? half the country doesn’t and neither will foreign leaders.

    I got a $50 bet that if she wins the DNC will knock her off – after all they just want a banker puppet in the Executive office.

    1. I got a $50 bet that if she wins the DNC will knock her off… Huh???

      The Democratic party is moribund. It has cannibalized itself beyond Zen nothingness. They will be delighted with Hillary and will hang off her coat tails shamelessly right on into the thermonuclear long winter night.

      Ahh, but Trump is a marvelous alternate as he gives us anthropogenic extinction; truly the lessor evil for the discriminating voter…

      Happy days.


  3. This is really disheartening.

    Despite the FBI refusing to change the classification status, it did craft a public statement that shockingly denied the 302. I cannot imagine the FBI simply shrugging off such an allegation, but that’s what appears to have happened.

    With HRC giving 154 of her donors jobs at State, perhaps her supporters have taken over the institution. We know the DOJ has become politicized in favor of Democrats, with highly questionable actions, such as privately meeting with Bill Clinton when his wife was under investigation. And of course there was the weaponization of the IRS against conservatives.

    We are truly seeing the rise of a dictatorship. I have no idea how to stop it, since voters seem unperturbed, or at least unwilling to change their voting behavior, in the face of overwhelming evidence of corruption and dishonesty in their favored candidate. If what we know so far is not enough for them to vote for someone else, apparently nothing is. They really do want a dictator, as long as it’s for “their side.” They are going to rue the day they allowed these precedents to form.

  4. State has been protecting Hillary Clinton since she assumed her role as secretary of state. It is obvious, especially since the failure to disclose incriminating records under freedom of information requests.

    This is exactly an indication of the corruption and malfeasance to be expected in the executive branch and subordinate agencies should the Clintons return to the White House. But, she will be protected by the democrats and liberals who do not value legitimacy in government above table scraps of feigned support of their professed goals Hillary Clinton will with self-serving interest throw at them.

    This entire Clinton affair in the primaries shows that because the Democratic National Committee used they show almost equally contemptuous disregard for fairness and rules of law: the same rules for which democrats profess to admire. By supporting such a untruthful, underhanded, and corrupt candidate above all other legitimate candidates and continuing their support of such corruption the DNC is just as corrupt and she. And, equally contemptuous, are liberals and democrats who know of such sleaze and enable it through blind support are those who should be offered neither respect, nor credibility; especially when they claim to support legitimacy, rule of law, and condemn the “1%” who according to their platform are running America into the ground.

    1. Jill, I think Perdue is grandstanding – he’s up for re election in two years. We don’t have time for an investigation. We need to rally together – Progressives and Trumpsters to make sure HRC does not steal the election! Citizen exit poll waters unite!!

  5. Amazing how in your face this has become and a certain segment of the nation are not offended by it and I mean on both sides. The political establishment on both sides needs to be sent home. Maybe some of you can can tell me when the FBI was thought of as not being able to be trusted to enforce the law for all Americans including politicians, I can’t. So now it’s plain to see that there is law for you and me but for the political rulers nothing, maybe we now have or had all along a Politburo?

    I plan on voting for Trump so lets get the labeling and name calling out of your system. At this point if I knew Jill Stein or Mr. Al Lepo could win I would vote for them but I’m not trying to make a protest statement.

    I fear for my grandchildren if this woman gets the nod. This open border, no vetting, poor education system, hate for cops, safe space, tell the public one thing do another, consistent lies, propaganda media, professional politician, welfare state, a judiciary making decisions on their political feelings not by the constitution, a questionable FBI and all the other corrupt things by both parties must come to an end. if it means electing a brash, foul mouth outsider, who lets you know how it is well I’ll go with him until something better comes along. Trump was put on the ticket by the people against the GOP establishment, no such thing on the democrat side the DNC and the media saw to that. Let’s hope there’s a God looking out for us or if Elon Musk is right somebody is just playing a game.

          1. Don’t know where you reside but down heah South of the Mason Dixon evangelicals are yuuge. And they are out in Cali as well. Plus there are all the conservative Catholics getting behind Trump. And Joel Osteen who has 20 million viewer.

            The “Christian” Right voters merged with the GOP and elected Reagan. And Trump has turned out more voters than Reagan.

        1. Franklin Graham has no special insight into the election. Like so many others, he’ll just be yet one more of the millions who will have to figure out a way to spin their error on November 9 when the results show Trump to be the loser.

      1. Even if there isn’t a God, Trump will loose. People have little idea how mistaken they are when they call this an election as in something where either candidate might be selected by some expression of public will. This is a coronation and Hillary is going to win, period. But there may indeed be a God, going by the name of Premier Election Solutions, Inc., formerly Diebold Election Systems, Inc., just to make sure.

        1. Trump is running a horrible to non existent campaign in most states. His Ohio campaign manager quit. If the republicans wanted to defeat Clinton, they should have chosen Marco Rubio.

          1. Yes. One questions whether or not he ever wanted to win. I’ve been of the opinion (hardly my idea) that Trump was doing this as a favor to Hillary. Either way, I think Trump is looking to gain publicity, bragging rights, and lord knows what else – but it stops well short of the White House. I’m positive he was aware of that fact at some point. Whether or not he has been in the echo chamber too long to know what’s up or down right now – and might actually imagine he has a chance – is another matter.

            1. BB, re: ” One questions whether or not he ever wanted to win. I’ve been of the opinion (hardly my idea) that Trump was doing this as a favor to Hillary.”

              I played around with that thought as well – maybe it was all a grand scheme to give us the illusion of choice. But after he took off the gloves last debate I realized that somewhere along the way he woke up and wants to be president. After all that’s gone on this week with the Wiki emails, Obama telling him to stop whining about electoral fraud, etc. I think many many of us are hoping he puts on brass knuckles tomorrow.

              And I’m a Jill Stein supporter! =)

              1. If he indeed puts on the brass knuckles (figuratively speaking of course) But he has been off balance ever since the nomination was over. Too many handlers telling him he’s got to be a good run of the mill Republican rather than just plain Trump. He can’t keep a thought for more than a minute or two without saying the exact opposite of the sentence he just finished. As they say in the grand ‘ol game of pool and the even grander game of billiards, he’s been psyched.


                1. BB – good points. I agree he has not been the same – I think he was railroaded into taking Pence as VP – he wanted General Flynn. Pence is totally establishment GOP and a TPPer to boot. However, I think Farage helped coach him a bit and he has an incredible number of very enthusiastic supporters so we’ll see.

                  I’m beginning to understand why some think it is a curse to live in “interesting” times =)

                2. This time Trump is bringing Obama’s half brother to the debate to cheer for him. Guess he is getting even with Michelle. He really does view these debates as reality TV.

            1. Okay so he possibly has two out of thirteen battle ground states. What is his path to victory?

              1. I don’t know – have not printed out the electoral map, etc. All I know is that the MSM is constantly saying that HRC will win and I don’t see it right now. My goal is to get Jill to at least 5%.

      2. If there was a God neither Trump nor Clinton would be running but God doesn’t support single party systems with two faces especially secular SECULAR progressives so where do get off calling on God?

  6. This is what you get w/ the Clinton’s. But please, let’s all continue to obsess on “pussy.”

    1. Grab the night by the p&(& got lots of laughs at women’s awards, and of course PETA is utilizing it to full advantage. But strangely, Russel Crowe’s identical remark for laughs fell rather flat with the media.

      Oh, and speaking of double standard, I found this funny article on a raving fan of Anderson Cooper’s joking about wanting to pinch him in the but, and remarking he was not as tall and buff as she imagined.

      So…joking about grabbing body parts and critiquing physical appearance is funny for Liberals, but rape for conservatives?


      Or there was his funny goof where Anderson Cooper Tweeted a painting of a nude male to millions of followers.


  7. In guess Hillary’s statement that she “takes national security very seriously” was just the “public” position. Her “private” position is “Who cares? Screw national security!”

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  8. The Democratic Party is run by criminals who corrupt everything they touch. Who knew?

  9. Many Progressives have come to the conclusion that the Republicans (not RINOs who are supporting HRC) are less corrupt than Democrats. Republicans have not engaged in the same behind the scenes shenanigans the Democrats have employed prior to and during the primaries. Jeb Bush was supposed to be the guy running against HRC –or maybe even Cruz. However, when the Donald took them out the party members coalesced around him.

    Corruption is accepted by the die hard Democrats – any tactics so long as she wins no matter that her actions have further eroded any thinking person’s trust in our justice system and institutions.

    1. This is not critical, but do you have any links or support for the statement about many progressives believing Republicans are less corrupt?

      I think main stream Republicans are the mirror image of their Democrat counterparts and I suspect most “progressives” who can see past the propaganda outlets at all, are aware of that. Some, see Trump – particularly the early Trump that spoke truth almost as often as buffoonery, as being more genuine and hence less part of the whole rotten apple, other progressives saw him as a way to make the whole thing explode and pick up the pieces afterwards, but few to none that I am aware of saw the party of Carl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, and Co. in general, as having any more integrity than the Dems.

      1. BB, not talking about Rove and his craven cronies. Talking about the Republicans now as they are splitting. Check out Jimmy Dore, Lee Camp, LTMB, HA Goodman and Tim Black.

        Here’s a segment from the Tim Black show last night where he and HA are discussing Republicans in comparison to Democrats. Starts around 21:45

          1. Never said Republicans were progressives – however they are divided between the Old Guard neo con / neo libs who now support HRC and the rest who are tired of the status quo and embrace Trump.

            Progressives are Lefties, but unlike Liberals we do not support HRC. And many Progressives in CA are still ticked off about the primary and will be voting for Jill Stein and/or Trump.

            Progressives are very dissatisfied with Obama’s tenure. We do not want Obama 2.0

            1. Easy answer they are also known as RINOs and Neo-Cons. Republicans at the top are the right wing of the left. End of story.

            2. Who died and made you the spokesperson for all progressives? Who put you in charge of determining what qualifies a person as a progressive? Have you spoken to all progressives about this? How many progressives do you actually know? I’m sure it is only a very tiny fraction of the total, so it is pretty damn arrogant of you to presume to speak for all progressives.

              1. Peltonrandy, I tried to tell Autumn that I was in charge of identifying Progressives, but she insisted on taking ownership from me. Here’s a Progressive:

              2. Easy answer. Progressives all belong to the same collective on body with lots of little parts and ONE ruling class. the rest are interchangeable parts that do and act as they are told . Only the select few from Soros to Looney Clooney to Lykoff and a few others are ‘in charge’ of thinking and coming up with the answer or definition or re framing of the day or hour. If it were anything else he wouldn’t be a progressive.

                Hint notice how facts though mentioned as a word never have any substance? Or how they say one thing like ‘we support women’ then do another like ‘vote for Hillary?’ On command with no need for thinking nor reasoning.

                Get off his case he’s doing the assigned job and therefore must be one of that classless societies ruling class.

      2. Of course, she does not have a link because it is not true. The majority of the progressives live on the coasts and can’t stand climate change denying republicans. The republican party in California is on life support. Many of the races have two democrats running against each other. While they might not care much for Hillary Clinton, they think republicans are truly evil for the most part.

    2. Progressive Latinos are organizing against Trump and his republicans. The turnout is going to be massive.

      1. Of course they are Allegro, a lose may mean no welfare and a one way ticket South.

      2. The only two famous Progressive Latinos I’m aware of are Rosario Dawson and Residente – both of whom were Bernie surrogates. And others tweet at #notmyabuela

        Latinos behind HRC are Liberals – they don’t seem to mind being denigrated (taco bowls) and being “hispandered” to by the DNC.

        Lots and lots of Latinos for Trump on YouTube as well.

        0 enthusiasm for HRC by the creative class and millenials

      3. That would be the college students in their safe spots. My Latino friends tell me most of Hillary’s supporters don’t have the vote and those that do can think for themselves. Mas frijoles Alejandro? Huele mal!

    1. No, but the people who want to coronate HIllary, thte bankers, the financiers, the military, do, or at least have a lot of influence in the right places. Hillary is part of their machine.

  10. No one should be surprised whenever news of criminal corruption by the 1% or their puppets is able to get past the Mighty Wurlitzer. We should only be surprised if it ever becomes fairly clear that such a person WASN’T dishonest.

    “In all thy getting, get understanding”…Malcom Forbes

  11. Listen to Pres. Obama’s Q&A during the Renzi dinner.

    Our president lied to us about the FBI/State Department interaction.

    1. Well, you can point out to the president that he lied. You’re assuming that the distinction between truth and falsehood is one he recognizes. He’ll just think you’re trash-talking him.

    1. No. Higher education, the legal profession, and the unions are the most corrupt. In about that order.

    1. “A big fat nothing” only to Hilbots who don’t care so long as she wins. Republicans (not RINO) and Progressives are paying close attention and we are horrified at the level of corruption revealed.

        1. That’s like saying those who believe in Marxist Leninist Economics are not for self government prone citizens.

      1. Republicans and Progressives same thing are the cause of corruption. RINOs and Neo cons are just left wingers masquerading as something they are not. A pox on all corrupt membership.

  12. In a near miracle, The Guardian actually covered this story. According to their piece, the State Dept. staffers affirm this report and mention that they also felt intimidated. In addition FBI agents are upset about what Comey did as well.

    The State dept has a group of people which Clinton’s peeps call the “Shadow govt.”. I think we are seeing the deep state being somewhat exposed at this time. We are seeing the corruption running throughout the govt. corporations and media.

    The US is in serious trouble. We have a fake govt. with little means for holding law breakers in the govt. to account as they collude to protect one another. It’s so weird to hear partisans scream about Russia as if what is exposed is something Russians made up. They didn’t. This is “our” govt. We have a horrific problem in the US govt. and we need citizens to focus on it immediately.


    1. We have a fake government where law makers are also the prime law breakers which makes accountability by an equally corrupt judiciary a tad tricky.

      1. Correction: …eqully corrupt judiciary -> enforcement agencies a tad tricky.

        Not to let the DOJ off the hook, judiciary was way too broad..

    2. The Russian’s Are Coming meme is perhaps what makes this surreal election the most scary. 1) That they think they can get away with it and 2) That they CAN get away with it.

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