The Clinton Foundation investigation, which was centered on its interactions with foreign donors while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, was ongoing for the majority of President Donald Trump’s administration, according to newly released documents and interviews with former Justice Department officials.
According to closing papers obtained through a Freedom of Information Act petition, the matter was ultimately resolved just days before Trump left office, the New York Times reported on Monday.
The probe went on despite FBI officers and prosecutors leading it to a dead end because it had been the focus of intense attention and Trump’s campaign promises to “lock her up.” Republicans used the protracted probe as a rallying cry because they thought they would discover corruption evidence that would hurt Clinton’s political chances.
Following the publication of Republican author Peter Schweizer’s book “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” in 2015, the Clinton Foundation came under further investigation. The book looked at contributions made to the foundation by overseas organizations. In exchange for significant contributions to the foundation, Republicans charged Clinton with participating in a quid pro quo by supporting the sale of Uranium One, a Canadian business linked to American mining interests.
Based on the claims in the book, the FBI opened a preliminary inquiry in 2016, although it was based solely on hearsay. Based on information from an anonymous source, the FBI opened additional inquiries in Little Rock, Arkansas, and New York. FBI agents became frustrated when the Justice Department voiced concerns about the veracity of the probes. Even some prosecutors thought Schweizer’s book had lost its credibility.
There were substantial ramifications from the conflict between the FBI and Justice Department on how the Clinton Foundation investigation was handled. It caused controversies in the media and contributed to the firing of Andrew G. McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI, who was suspected of leaking details of the case and then lying about it. The Justice Department was unable to bring charges against McCabe.
In August 2016, agents in New York eventually merged the investigation, but prosecutors chose not to issue subpoenas. Up until it was transferred to Little Rock, the inquiry seemed to remain inactive. Prosecutors subpoenaed the foundation in 2018 and spoke with its former chief financial officer. Career prosecutors in Little Rock eventually concluded the case in January 2021, and the FBI got a declination memo in August 2021 indicating the conclusion of the investigation.
“All of the evidence obtained during the course of this investigation has been returned or otherwise destroyed,” the FBI said in the memo.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton responded to the NY Times’ revelations.
“Biden Justice Department formally shut down Clinton Foundation ‘investigation’ in August, 2021,” Fitton remarked. “FBI destroyed all evidence.”
According to the recently released Durham Report, FBI leadership frequently intervened to stop investigators from looking into possible criminal activity involving Hillary Clinton, her campaign, and the Clinton Foundation before the 2016 election.
“The speed and manner in which the FBI opened and investigated Crossfire Hurricane during the presidential election season based on raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence also reflected a noticeable departure from how it approached prior matters involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans aimed at the Clinton campaign,” the report said.
“[I]n the eighteen months leading up to the 2016 election, the FBI was required to deal with a number of proposed investigations that had the potential of affecting the election,” the report continued. “In each of those instances, the FBI moved with considerable caution. In one such matter… FBI Headquarters and Department officials required defensive briefings to be provided to Clinton and other officials or candidates who appeared to be the targets of foreign interference. In another, the FBI elected to end an investigation after one of its longtime and valuable CHSs went beyond what was authorized and made an improper and possibly illegal financial contribution to the Clinton campaign on behalf of a foreign entity
as a precursor to a much larger donation being contemplated.”
“And in a third, the Clinton Foundation matter, both senior FBI and Department officials placed restrictions on how those matters were to be handled such that essentially no investigative activities occurred for months leading up to the election,” the report added. “These examples are also markedly different from the FBI’ s actions with respect to other highly significant intelligence it received from a trusted foreign source pointing to a Clinton campaign plan to vilify Trump by tying him to Vladimir Putin so as to divert attention from her own concerns relating to her use of a private email server.”
The FBI’s and the Justice Department’s continued resistance to looking into and prosecuting Hillary Clinton under the Biden administration is confirmed by this new study.