FBI officials asked Justice Department to investigate Clinton Foundation’s relationship with State Department, but agency declined.
The FBI reportedly asked the Justice Department earlier this year about possibly having its public integrity unit investigate the Clinton Foundation, but the agency declined to do so, according to a report.
The investigation was not opened because the Department of Justice said it had looked into allegations surrounding the Clinton Foundation a year earlier and established at that time that there wasn’t enough of a case to open a formal probe, CNN reported.
The latest reports come amid continued scrutiny over whether the Democratic nominee’s family foundation interfered with Clinton’s ability to serve as the nation’s chief diplomat, specifically the relationships between foreign donors to the foundation and the State Department.
The questions emerged once again this week after a fresh batch of Clinton’s emails not previously made public was released by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, including some that appeared to signal a possible link between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation.
One heavily redacted email appeared to show Clinton Foundation official Doug Band discussing with Clinton aides a job for someone else in the State Department.
“Important to take care of (redacted),” Band reportedly emailed Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin.
Another 2009 email reportedly showed Band asking Mills and Abedin to put Lebanese-Nigerian Clinton Foundation donor Gilbert R. Chagoury in touch with certain State Department officials.
“We need Gilbert Chagoury to speak to the substance person re Lebanon,” Band wrote. “As you know, he’s a key guy there and to us and is loved in Lebanon. Very imp.”
Such exchanges repeatedly raised eyebrows at the FBI, which wanted to look further into the issue, CNN reported.
As the agency was deep into its investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server for official correspondence, multiple FBI field officials contacted the Justice Department about potentially pursuing a case regarding the relationship between the State Department and the foundation.
To establish a criminal conflict of interest, authorities would have to prove that a government employee received something of value, like a job, or money, in exchange for the favor.
In a statement provided to CNN, the Clinton campaign said that “neither” of the emails in question “involve the secretary or relate to the Foundation’s work.”
“They’re communications between her aides and (former President Bill Clinton’s) personal aide, and indeed the recommendation was for one of the Secretary’s former staffers who was not employed by the Foundation,” campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin told the network.
At a Washington hearing last month that occurred as the FBI closed its investigation into the email server without recommending charges, agency director James Comey declined to say whether the Clinton Foundation was under investigation.
“I’m not going to comment on the existence or non-existence of any investigation,” he said.
“Am I not speaking English?”
“Am I not speaking English?’” replied a State Department spokeswoman, reaching a point of exasperation repelling reporters’ hounding over a new batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails that exposed cozy relationships between the former secretary’s team and wealthy donors of her husband’s foundation.
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“It’s not men who limit women, it’s not straights who limit gays, it’s not whites who limit blacks. What limits people is lack of character. What limits people is that they don’t have the fucking nerve or imagination to star in their own movie, let alone direct it.”