by WorldTribune Staff, January 5, 2018
FBI agents in Little Rock are active in a renewed investigation into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in pay-for-play politics or other illegal activities while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, a report said.
Law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Hill that the FBI is investigating “whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favors in return for largesse to their charitable efforts or whether donors made commitments of donations in hopes of securing government outcomes.”
The statute of limitations on most federal felonies is five years, and Clinton left office in early 2013.
“The probe may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the foundation complied with applicable tax laws,” the officials told The Hill.
One witness who was questioned by the FBI told The Hill the interview was “extremely professional and unquestionably thorough” and focused on questions about whether donors to Clinton charitable efforts received any favorable treatment from the Obama administration on a policy decision previously highlighted in media reports.
Nick Merrill, Clinton’s chief spokesman, blasted the FBI for re-opening the case, calling it “disgraceful” and suggesting it was nothing more than a political distraction from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“Let’s call this what it is: a sham,” Merrill said. “This is a philanthropy that does life-changing work, which Republicans have tried to turn into a political football. It began with a now long-debunked project spearheaded by Steve Bannon during the presidential campaign. It continues with Jeff Sessions doing Trump’s bidding by heeding his calls to meddle with a department that is supposed to function independently.”
The Wall Street Journal reported late last year that several FBI field offices, including the one in Little Rock, had been collecting information on the Clinton Foundation for more than a year.
Several Republican members of Congress have recently urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special counsel to examine issues surrounding the Clintons.
Meanwhile, officials said the Justice Department is taking another look into whether there are any unresolved issues from Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information through her personal email server.
A senior law enforcement official said the Justice Department was exploring whether any issues from that probe should be re-opened but cautioned the effort was not at the stage of a full investigation.
Officials’ questions include how much classified information was sent over Clinton’s server; who put that information into an unclassified environment, and how; and which investigators knew about these matters and when. Officials also have questions about immunity agreements that Clinton aides may have made.
Stephen Boyd, who heads the Justice Department’s Office of Legislative Affairs, appeared to hint at the department’s interest in Clinton’s emails in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte on Nov. 13.
In the letter, Boyd wrote that Sessions “directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues” the chairman was concerned about. He also wrote that those prosecutors would “make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened,” and that they would send those recommendations directly to the attorney general and his top deputy, Rod Rosenstein.