Former Attorney General John Ashcroft is weighing in on FBI documents released earlier this week showing State Department Undersecretary of Management Patrick Kennedy asking an agent to change the classification rating on at least one of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails in exchange for a "quid pro quo."
Ashcroft explained that bribery or exchange of favors in this manner for public officials is illegal and shouldn't be tolerated inside government institutions. He also pointed out that changing the classification level of a document under congressional subpoena is also illegal and likely an effort not only to defraud lawmakers, but the American people.
"To change the classification of a document which is under subpoena by the United States Congress is asking someone to do something which I believe is illegal in an effort to defraud the Congress by providing false information," Ashcroft said.
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee have called on Kennedy to resign and the RNC has asked State Department Inspector General Steve Linick open an investigation.
"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. Further, I request that your office investigate whether Mr. Kennedy made any additional quid-pro-quo offers to other federal agencies in relation to Secretary Clinton’s emails," RNC Chief Counsel John Phillippe Jr. wrote in a letter to Linick Wednesday. "Mr. Kennedy’s attempt to influence the release of records in a manner that benefits presidential candidate Hillary Clinton undermines government transparency. According to the FBI report, one unidentified individual told the FBI, “State has an agenda which involves minimizing the classified nature of the Clinton emails in order to protect state interests and those of Clinton.” I request that your office review Mr. Kennedy’s role in the release of Clinton-related records to determine the extent of Mr. Kennedy’s attempts to manipulate the FOIA review process."