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 ClintonTrump takes aim at media after 'hereby' ordering US businesses out of China Trump knocks news of CNN hiring ex-FBI official McCabe Taylor Swift says Trump is 'gaslighting the American public' 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 TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future 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.