Donald Trump said that the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton's emails, specifically the recent revelation that a State Department staffer asked to change the classification level of an email from her private server, is "worse than Watergate."
Speaking in front of a rowdy crowd in Green Bay, Wisconsin Monday night, Trump referred to Clinton's dealings with the State Department and the FBI as "a criminal enterprise." "The Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy illegally pressured the FBI to un-classify emails from Hillary’s illegal server," Trump said. "That’s a lot of illegality in that one statement."
He focused on newly released FBI documents showing State Department Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy contacting an FBI official (whose name was redacted) in 2015, asking that the agency reclassify an email related to the 2012 attacks in Benghazi to make the email “never to be seen again.” Notes from an interview the FBI conducted with an official in its records management division say that Kennedy "had asked... assistance in altering the email’s classification in exchange for a ‘quid pro quo.’”
"This is magnitudes worse, in my opinion and in the opinion of many people in law enforcement, this is worse than Watergate," Trump said, referencing the series of events that began with an election-season break-in at a Democratic National Committee office in Washington, D.C., and ended with the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. "And what does she get out of it? She gets to run for the presidency of the United States."
The State Department denies the existence of a quid pro quo. “This allegation is inaccurate and does not align with the facts," State Department spokesperson Mark Toner told Politico in a statement. "To be clear: the State Department did upgrade the document at the request of the FBI when we released it back in May 2015."