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FBI official at center of 'quid pro quo' flap tells his side of the story

On Monday, retired FBI official Brian McCauley became a central figure in the 2016 presidential race, even though his name was redacted in the relevant FBI documents and neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump was mentioned. On Tuesday, McCauley told The Washington Post that there was never a "quid pro quo" discussed between himself and State Department official Patrick Kennedy, and that the phrase appearing in the summary notes of an FBI investigation into Clinton's emails was due to a misunderstanding by another FBI official.

McCauley, then the FBI deputy assistant director for international operations, said he had been trying to reach Kennedy for weeks about placing two more FBI employees in Baghdad, and in May 2015 Kennedy called him back. "He said: 'Brian. Pat Kennedy. I need a favor,'" McCauley tells The Post. "I said: 'Good, I need a favor. I need our people back in Baghdad.'" Kennedy told him the favor, McCauley recalled: "There's an email. I don't believe it has to be classified." McCauley said he told Kennedy he would look into it, but when he found out it was about Benghazi, "I said, 'Absolutely not, I can't help you,' and he took that, and it was fine."

Kennedy, in a statement, said that he had contacted FBI officials about the email "to better understand a proposal the FBI had made to upgrade one of former Secretary Clinton's emails prior to its public release," affirmed that McCauley had raised the FBI-Iraq issue "as an entirely separate matter," and insisted "there was no quid pro quo, nor was there any bargaining. At no point in our conversation was I under the impression we were bargaining."

Republicans are demanding an investigation, calling the rarely released 302 summary proof of collusion between the State Department and FBI; House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) says he will press the FBI for more documents and perhaps subpoena witnesses. "Listen, there was no collusion, there was absolutely no collusion," McCauley told The Post. "That's illegal. Something that was underhanded, illegal, I would not do it. No one in the FBI would do it. It's a matter of integrity." You can read more of McCauley's account at The Washington Post.