Obama: Claims of ‘quid pro quo’ over Clinton email ‘just not true’

President Obama on Tuesday tried to pour cold water on evidence that the State Department had pressured the FBI not to classify one email in former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP senator says idea that Ukraine interfered in US election is 'not a conspiracy theory' Cotton: Democrats are 'upset that their witnesses haven't said what they want them to say' Trump's troubles won't end with a Senate acquittal MORE’s archive.

One day after the FBI released notes in which one unidentified bureau official said they had been offered a “quid pro quo” to not classify the email, Obama dismissed the concern as pure speculation. 


“I think you’ve heard directly from both the FBI and the State Department that the notion or the accounts that have been put out there are just not true,” Obama said at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden. 

“Based on what we have seen, heard, learned, some of the more sensational implications or appearances ... aren’t based on actual events, and based on what actually happened, and I think derive from overly broad characterizations from interactions between the State Department and the FBI that happen a lot and happen between agencies.”

According to the FBI’s notes from its yearlong investigation into Clinton’s private email system, two fellow bureau officials said that a high-ranking State Department official had pressured the FBI not to classify one email from Clinton's server.

The FBI officials said that the official, Patrick Kennedy, had urged the FBI to allow the State Department keep the email secret through another exemption under open records law, instead of classifying it. In exchange, one official said, Kennedy had offered to give the FBI expanded authority in Iraq.

Both the State Department and FBI denied that any foul play had taken place. Portions of the email, which related to arrests following the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, were ultimately classified, officials have noted. Instead, government officials described the episode as typical of debates between agencies over whether to classify pieces of information.

Republican critics of the Obama administration were unconvinced, however, and accused the State Department of going out of its way to protect Clinton, now the Democratic presidential nominee.

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE, Clinton’s Republican opponent, has called for Kennedy to resign in the wake of the new allegations, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have suggested it could lead to multiple hearings.