There are conflicting reports this week on the question of whether the FBI is currently investigating possible corruption within the Clinton Foundation. CNN’s report that the DOJ quashed the FBI’s request to open an investigation has been contradicted by The Daily Caller, which is reporting that there is a joint FBI-U.S. Attorney probe currently being conducted. The FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI director himself have all declined to comment on the possibility of an ongoing investigation.
CNN reported yesterday that there were discussions earlier this year between the FBI and DOJ about opening a public corruption case into the foundation, but the DOJ pushed back on the idea.
At the time, three field offices were in agreement an investigation should be launched after the FBI received notification from a bank of suspicious activity from a foreigner who had donated to the Clinton Foundation, according to the official.
FBI officials wanted to investigate whether there was a criminal conflict of interest with the State Department and the Clinton Foundation during Clinton’s tenure. The Department of Justice had looked into allegations surrounding the foundation a year earlier after the release of the controversial book “Clinton Cash,” but found them to be unsubstantiated and there was insufficient evidence to open a case.
As a result, DOJ officials pushed back against opening a case during the meeting earlier this year. Some also expressed concern the request seemed more political than substantive, especially given the timing of it coinciding with the investigation into the private email server and Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The FBI investigation into Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s ties to a Clinton Foundation donor was also reportedly discussed during the meeting, and that probe was allowed to continue.
“As the press have reported widely and emails released over the past few days confirmed, representatives of the Foundation repeatedly sought special treatment for its donors and associates from senior officials at the State Department,” Cornyn wrote to Lynch.
“This kind of conduct is unacceptable, and reflects the worst concerns harbored by the public about the abuse of government office to benefit the powerful at the expense of the American people,” he added.
The Daily Caller is reporting meanwhile that there are “multiple FBI investigations” underway involving potential corruption charges against the Clinton Foundation. This report is based on the claims of one anonymous former senior law enforcement official.
The investigation centers on New York City where the Clinton Foundation has its main offices, according to the former official who has direct knowledge of the activities.
Prosecutorial support will come from various U.S. Attorneys Offices — a major departure from other centralized FBI investigations.
The New York-based probe is being led by Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara’s prosecutorial aggressiveness has resulted in a large number of convictions of banks, hedge funds and Wall Street insiders.
Both a spokesman for Bharara and an FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the story.
Bharara is best known for securing convictions of prominent political figures, including former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Silver had a seemingly intractable grip on power in the state for decades. He was convicted of accepting $4 million in exchange for helping a cancer researcher and two real estate developers.
He also secured the conviction of New York Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was sentenced to five years in prison for corruption.
Bharara is also known as “the Obama donor who prosecuted Dinesh D’Souza” for an election law violation. But his successful prosecutions of both powerful Democrats and Republicans seem to demonstrate that he doesn’t play favorites when it comes to crooked politicians. And there are no politicians more crooked than “Crooked Hillary.”
The Daily Caller, you may recall, broke the story last month about Clinton’s scheduled meeting with the FBI. That exclusive was also based on an anonymous source.
Director Comey was cagey on the question of whether a public corruption probe is open or closed when asked about it during his appearance before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on July 7: