A brand new chapter in the Hillary Clinton personal e-mail server saga opened up Monday, as newly released FBI notes revealed a possible quid pro quo between the agency and the State Department. According to the notes State Department official Pat Kennedy wanted a classified Clinton e-mail to be marked unclassified in exchange for the FBI to expand their overseas presence. But ABC and NBC decided to downplay the stunning revelations on their evening broadcasts and instead touted the Clinton campaign’s expansion into “red states.”
ABC started off the segment on World News Tonight by briefly mentioning the scandal before having Anchor David Muir rattle off poll numbers favorable to Clinton, which was then followed up by reporter Cecilia Vega praising how hard Clinton was working for the final debate. “But now, her e-mails creating new headaches for her campaign,” she complained as she finally got to the FBI investigation notes. According to Vega:
FBI staffer telling investigators the request amounted to a, quote, quid pro quo, adding, "In exchange for marking the e-mail unclassified, state would reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more agents in countries where they are presently forbidden."
Vega parroted the Clinton campaign talking points, arguing, “the Clinton campaign calls this an inner agency fight over how to classify documents…” Not only did she aid the Clinton campaign there, but she also touted the campaign was “feeling so confident” as they moved into traditionally Republican states like Texas and Arizona. “A trifecta of surrogates [in Arizona] this week. Chelsea Clinton, Bernie Sanders and the heaviest hitter of all, Michelle Obama,” she stated excitedly.
It was the NBC Nightly News report submitted by Clinton fangirl Andrea Mitchell which was arguably the most ridiculous. She first stating that, “Notes released today from the FBI e-mail investigation, quoting an FBI agent accusing a top state department official of proposing a quid pro quo to resolve a dispute over whether a Clinton e-mail should be classified” As she whined about Donald Trump saying it was evidence of corruption she went on to contradict the story she had told, claiming:
The problem with that story line, the FBI and the state department say it never happened… In fact, both sides say it was an FBI official who brought up the question of placing agents overseas. Separately from the negotiation over classification. No linkage, no quid pro quo.
It is true that the deal never went through, but her claim that it was first proposed by an FBI official directly contracted her first statement, that it was the State Department official who proposed it. Mitchell would then go on to speak glowingly about the Clinton Campaign’s expansion, stating, “The Democrats hoping to win decisively and put to rest Donald Trump's talk of a stolen election.”
What neither one of those networks reported was how serious an issue such a discussion was, as Fox News’s Catherine Herridge reported on Special Report that same evening, “Legal experts said today, even the discussion of a backroom deal violates federal law.”
In addition, Spanish-language network Telemundo payed little mind to the FBI notes and gave the story a mere news brief lasting 33 seconds. In contrast, their competitor Univision ran a full report about Clinton’s latest e-mail chapter, which also contradicted Mitchell by pointing out the State Department official initiated the proposal.
World News Tonight
October 17, 2016
6:36:44 PM Eastern [2 Minutes 59 Seconds]
DAVID MUIR: And there are new questions tonight about Hillary Clinton's e-mail. One e-mail in particular. And whether there was ever an offer of quid pro quo between the State Department and the FBI. It comes amid new numbers tonight in the key battlegrounds. In Colorado, Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump 45 to 37. In Florida tonight, Clinton, 48, Trump, 44, but within the margin of error. In Pennsylvania this evening, Clinton, 47 percent to Trump's 41. And in the key state of Ohio tonight, a dead heat, both at 45. Tonight, word the Clinton camp is now trying to make a play for Arizona. And perhaps Texas. Amid that new headline over one of her e-mails. Here's ABC's Cecilia Vega.
[Cuts to video]
CECILIA VEGA: For the third straight day, Hillary Clinton is holed up inside this New York hotel, practicing to face off against Donald Trump one last time. Her ritual pre-debate disappearing act. A strategy that has paid off in the past. Her poll numbers getting a boost after the last two showdowns.
HILLARY CLINTON: My opponent criticized me for preparing. And I said, he was right, I did prepare. And you know what, Donald, I prepared for something else. I prepared to be president of the United States.
VEGA: But now, her e-mails creating new headaches for her campaign. Today, the FBI releasing more details of its investigation, including notes from an interview with an FBI staffer who accuses a top state department official of pressuring the bureau to declassify an e-mail found on Clinton's private server. That FBI staffer telling investigators the request amounted to a, quote, quid pro quo, adding, "In exchange for marking the e-mail unclassified, state would reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more agents in countries where they are presently forbidden." The FBI and the state department say the deal never happened, and that the e-mail in question remained classified.
MARK TONER: So, there was no quid pro quo.
VEGA: While there is no evidence Clinton's campaign was involved, Donald Trump says, not so fast.
DONALD TRUMP: This shows corruption at the highest level, and we can't let it happen as American citizens.
VEGA: Still, Clinton's campaign feeling so confident, today they began airing this ad in Texas.
CLINTON CAMPAIGN AD: She deserves your vote.
VEGA: A state that hasn't sent a Democrat to the White House in 40 years. They're even venturing into the Republican stronghold of Arizona. A trifecta of surrogates there this week. Chelsea Clinton, Bernie Sanders and the heaviest hitter of all, Michelle Obama.
[Cuts back to live]
MUIR: And Cecilia Vega with us live tonight as well. And Cecilia, any reaction this evening to those headlines of a possible offer of quid pro quo between the State Department and the FBI?
VEGA: Well, David, the Clinton campaign calls this an inner agency fight over how to classify documents, but a spokesman for the State Department today calls the insinuation of a quid pro quo, quote, “frankly insulting.” David?
MUIR: Cecilia, great to have you with us as always.
October 17, 2016
7:06:59 PM Eastern [2 Minutes 42 Seconds]
LESTER HOLT: Hillary Clinton is facing new trouble of her own tonight on two different fronts. Both of them involving e-mails. One is the continued leaking of e-mails illegally hacked from her campaign chairman. A new batch published by WikiLeaks late today. The other separate situation involves continued fall-out from her use of a private e-mail server. New disclosures from the FBI today sparking yet another fire storm her campaign is working to put out. We get all the latest on all of it from NBC's Andrea Mitchell.
[Cuts to video]
ANDREA MITCHELL: Hillary Clinton heading out to practice for Wednesday's final debate. And now facing yet another unexpected fire storm over her private e-mails. First, notes released today from the FBI e-mail investigation, quoting an FBI agent accusing a top state department official of proposing a quid pro quo to resolve a dispute over whether a Clinton e-mail should be classified. The notes say, “In exchange for marking the e-mail unclassified, state would reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more agents in countries where they are presently forbidden.” Specifically, Iraq. In rare agreement, Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan jumped all over the charge.
DONALD TRUMP: This shows corruption at the highest level. And we can't let it happen as American citizens.
MITCHELL: The problem with that story line, the FBI and the state department say it never happened.
MARK TONER: There's no quid pro quo. Absolutely not.
MITCHELL: In fact, both sides say it was an FBI official who brought up the question of placing agents overseas. Separately from the negotiation over classification. No linkage, no quid pro quo.
Second, and the really challenge for Clinton, another set of e-mails, those stolen from her campaign Chairman John Podesta, and released by WikiLeaks, the US says, with help from Russia. The WikiLeaks trove, not authenticated by the campaign or NBC News, include alleged transcripts from her speeches to Goldman Sachs. Revealing she changed her positions on hot button issues like trade, immigration, and Wall Street when she became a candidate. Exactly what Bernie Sanders suspected.
BERNIE SANDERS: You gotta release the transcripts. Let everybody see them!
MITCHELL: Now Clinton says she's be tough on Wall Street.
HILLARY CLINTON: We still have to crack down on the big banks.
MITCHELL: But as a highly paid speaker, Clinton appears to have told the bankers, the people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.
[Cuts back to live]
But for all this, Clinton is now 11 points ahead in our new poll tonight, and now expanding her campaign to red states, like Utah, Texas, Georgia, even Arizona, where Michelle Obama will campaign this week. The Democrats hoping to win decisively and put to rest Donald Trump's talk of a stolen election. Lester?
HOLT: Andrea Mitchell tonight, thank you.
6:31:05 PM Eastern
MARIA ELENA SALINAS, ANCHOR, UNIVISION: We start the news with new, embarrassing revelations about Hillary Clinton's emails that the FBI investigated. Today it was revealed that a high-ranking official of the Department of State pressured the FBI to not classify as secret a private e-mail that Hillary Clinton sent when she was Secretary of State. Lourdes Meluzá tells us that the revelation has provoked strong reactions from both presidential campaigns.
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: A high-ranking official from the Department of State asked the FBI last year to declassify an e-mail from Hillary Clinton's private server that described arrests by Libyan authorities due to the attack in Benghazi. To reciprocate, the Department would authorize more FBI agents to be sent abroad. The FBI denied the petition from the Subsecretary of State, Patrick Kennedy, who sent that e-mail to Clinton. He was looking for it to be archived forever in the basement of the Department.
MARK TONER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: [in English] The allegations of quid pro quo...
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: [Translating Toner] "The allegations of any type of reciprocity is not accurate and is not factual."
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: It was part of 100 pages that the FBI made public today about the investigation of Clinton's private e-mails. Donald Trump tweeted, "Corruption confirmed. FBI confirms Department of State offered an exchange to cover up classified e-mails."
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: Clinton's campaign responded that there were internal disagreements between agencies about the classification of the information in the e-mails, and that they didn't participate in any of those processes.
FEDERICO DE JESÚS, DEMOCRAT ANALYST: But there's no direct implication that Hillary Clinton had anything to do with that petition.