US official wanted FBI to alter findings in Clinton probe, documents allege | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 18.10.2016
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US official wanted FBI to alter findings in Clinton probe, documents allege

Documents have shown that a top State Department official tried to change a key finding regarding Hillary Clinton's use of a private server. The investigation continues to spell trouble for the presidential nominee.

Files made public on Monday claim that a high-ranking State Department official offered an FBI agent a "quid pro quo" in exchange for the agency altering a piece of information about one of the emails sent from Clinton's private server.

Patrick Kennedy, the undersecretary of state for management, offered to allow the FBI to place more agents in overseas posts in exchange for declassifying or lowering the classification of the email. The email concerned reports from November 2012 that Libyan police were arresting suspects following the attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

The alteration would have allowed the State Department to archive the email in the basement of its headquarters, effectively hiding it away from public view for good. The FBI ultimately rejected the offer, according to the files.

However, the FBI later confirmed on Monday that allegations of a "quid pro quo" were false, and that the agent in question was now retired.

Liability for Clinton

The information comes just as the US presidential election pulls into the final stretch, with Clinton maintaining a clear lead over Republican rival Donald Trump in most recent polls. Nonetheless, her use of a private email server to send work-related correspondence during her tenure as Secretary of State continues to be a liability for the candidate, who has frequently been accused of deceit by her opponents.

State Department spokesperson John Kirby emphasized on Twitter that the report was incorrect.

Kirby also said on Twitter that the email in question had been released publicly last May.

Trump, meanwhile, took to Twitter to blast Clinton over the findings.

Trump has been dealing with his own controversies lately, especially regarding accusations that he had sexually assaulted several women over the years. The New York billionaire has denied the claims, but the ongoing saga has taken a toll on his ratings in the poll, which have dropped in recent weeks.

blc/jm (AP, AFP)

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