US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a fundraiser in Seattle, Washington, October 14, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)
Newly released documents show that the US State Department sought to shield Hillary Clinton from prosecution by pressuring the FBI to drop its insistence that an email on the private server she used while secretary of state contained classified information.
The FBI ultimately decided against declassifying the email's contents, despite pressure from Patrick Kennedy, the State Department’s most senior manager, according to the latest release of interview summaries from the FBI’s year-long investigation into Clinton's exchange of classified government secrets via her unauthorized server.
One FBI official, whose name is redacted from the document, told investigators that Kennedy repeatedly "pressured" the various officials at the FBI to declassify information in one of Clinton's emails.
The email was about the 2012 attack against two US government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, and included information that originated from the FBI, which meant that the agency had the authority on whether it would remain classified.
The FBI and the State Department both confirmed on Monday that a conversation about the email's classification took place.
Patrick Kennedy, a senior State Department official, during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing last month. (Photo by AFP)
The FBI recommended against indicting Clinton in July and has defended the integrity of its year-long investigation.
Clinton has said her decision to use the private server -- which was installed at her home at Chappaqua, New York -- for official government business while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 was a mistake and has apologized.
Last month, the FBI released documents that showed at least one State Department official told investigators that there was pressure by senior department officials to mislead the public about the presence of classified information in Clinton's emails ahead of their public release.
The new revelation has added fuel to Republicans' claims that officials in President Barack Obama's administration have sought to protect Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, from criminal liability as she seeks to succeed Obama.
Donald Trump, Clinton's Republican presidential rival, said Monday that the FBI documents showed "corruption at the highest levels."
"This is collusion between the FBI, Department of Justice and the State Department to try and make Hillary Clinton look like an innocent person when she's guilty of very high crimes," Trump said in a video posted online.