FBI investigators from across the country have been following leads into reports of bribery involving the Clinton Foundation. Multiple field offices have been involved in the investigation.
A report in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) by Devlin Barrett revealed that agents assigned to the New York field office have been carrying the bulk of the work in investigating the Clinton Foundation. They have received assistance from the FBI field office in Little Rock according to “people familiar with the matter, the WSJ reported. Other offices, including Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., have been collecting evidence regarding “financial crimes or influence-peddling.”
As far back as February 2016, FBI agents made the presentation to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the WSJ’s sources stated. “The meeting didn’t go well,” they wrote. While some sources said the FBI’s evidence was not strong enough, others believed the DOJ had no intention of going any further from the start. Barrett wrote that the DOJ officials were “stern, icy and dismissive of the case.”
Barrett wrote, “‘That was one of the weirdest meetings I’ve ever been to,’ one participant told others afterward, according to people familiar with the matter.”
It appears there was a rift between the FBI and the DOJ about how to move forward with the investigation. Agents in the Washington office were directed to focus on a separate issue related to the actions of former Virginia Governor and Clinton Foundation Board member Terry McAuliffe. Agents inside the FBI believed they could build a stronger case if the investigation of McAuliffe and the foundation were combined.
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe seemed to be caught in the middle of the fight between DOJ officials who appeared to want to slow down or shut down the investigation, and FBI agents who were eager to pour more resources into the investigation.
Barrett wrote, “’Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?’ Mr. McCabe asked, according to people familiar with the conversation. After a pause, the official replied, ‘Of course not,’ these people said.”
Some of the WSJ sources told Barrett that a “stand down” order had been given to the FBI agents by McCabe. Others denied that such an order was given.
Preet Bharara, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, appears to have taken an interest in moving forward from the DOJ side, the Daily Caller’s Richard Pollock reported in August.
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.
He said prosecutorial support could come from multiple U.S. Attorneys Offices and stated this was a major departure from other “centralized FBI investigations.”
The story gets more complicated when you factor in that McCabe’s wife, Dr. Jill McCabe had received a $467,500 campaign contribution in 2015 for a state senate race from McAuliffe.
CNN also reported that multiple field offices were “in agreement a public corruption investigation should be launched” with Clinton Foundation officials as a target. The cable news network reported the investigation would have looked at “conflicts of interest by foreign donors and official acts by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.