Donald Trump has claimed new FBI records about Hillary Clinton’s private email server reveal “a criminal act” that is “worse than Watergate”.
FBI records released on Monday show a senior State Department official asked the FBI to help last year in change the classification of an email from Hillary Clinton’s private server during her time as secretary of state as part of a bargain that would have allowed the FBI to deploy more agents in foreign countries.
It was not clear from the documents who suggested the deal, and the FBI ultimately rejected the request.
Republicans seized on the report as collusion within the Obama administration to protect Clinton, who is the Democratic presidential nominee.
“CORRUPTION CONFIRMED: FBI confirms State Dept. offered ‘quid pro quo’ to cover up classified emails,” read a tweet from Team Trump, retweeted by the candidate.
Trump told a rally crowd in Green Bay, Wisconsin, that “this is one of the great miscarriages of justice in the history of our country”.
He accused the State Department of “trying to cover up Hillary’s crimes of sending classified information on a server our enemies could easily access”.
“This is magnitudes worse, in my opinion and in the opinion of many people in law enforcement, this is worse than Watergate,” Trump said, referring to scandal that led to the resignation of president Richard Nixon in 1974.
Monday’s bureau records, citing an FBI official whose name was censored, said undersecretary Patrick F Kennedy sought assistance in exchange for a “quid pro quo”.
But the FBI said it was the now-retired FBI official who first asked Kennedy about deploying more agents overseas, and the State Department said the same.
“This allegation is inaccurate and does not align with the facts,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.
He said Kennedy had been trying to understand the FBI’s classification decisions, and added there was never an increase in the number of FBI agents assigned to Iraq as a result of the conversations.
The FBI ultimately rejected the idea, which would have allowed the State Department to archive a message related to the 2012 attacks on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in the basement of its Washington headquarters “never to be seen again”.
“Although there was never a quid pro quo, these allegations were nonetheless referred to the appropriate officials for review,” the FBI said on Monday.
The disclosure was included in 100 pages the FBI released from its now-closed investigation into whether Clinton and her aides mishandled sensitive information that flowed through the private mail server in her New York home.
It determined there were no grounds for prosecuting Clinton for her email use. (AP)