Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is calling for the resignation of the State Department’s Undersecretary for Management, Patrick Kennedy, after leaked documents revealed that Kennedy offered to give FBI agents overseas positions in exchange for declassifying an email sent to Hillary Clinton’s private server. Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft weighed in on the potential legal and political ramifications of this new revelation.
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“Offering a public official a benefit in return for the public official making a concession of some kind is illegal,” Ashcroft told the FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney.
Ashcroft explained that it can be illegal even if the public official is asked to do something that is not against the law.
“And not only is it illegal if you’re asking a public official to do something illegal, it can be bribery if you offer a public official an incentive, a benefit, in order to do something that is legal.”
According to Ashcroft, not only was Kennedy’s request illegal, it was also an effort to deceive Congress.
“To change the classification of a document which is under subpoena by the United States Congress is asking someone to do something which I believe is illegal in an effort to defraud the Congress by providing false information.”
Ashcroft viewed it as an effort to deceive voters as well by attempting to change information relevant to the election.
“And secondly, really, I think given the context we’re in, it’s probably an effort to defraud the American people, contaminate their judgment in an election by altering the facts of something that most people think is relevant to this political campaign.”