FBI Officials Limited Clinton Investigation, Report Finds
Contrasting Treatment of Clinton and Trump Campaigns
According to a recent report by special counsel John Durham, FBI officials repeatedly intervened to limit agents’ ability to investigate potential criminal activity related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or her presidential campaign ahead of the 2016 election. The report details how the bureau treated Clinton-related matters differently from those related to her opponent, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Foreign Influence Campaigns
The report reveals that in late 2014, the FBI learned from an informant that a foreign government was planning to contribute to Clinton’s anticipated presidential campaign as a way to gain influence with her should she win the presidency. The field office handling the informant sought a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor the foreigner, but headquarters left the application “in limbo” for four months. The delay was partly due to waiting for confirmation of a new attorney general, but also because officials were “tippy-toeing” around Clinton.
Another foreign influence campaign emerged in November 2015 when the same informant told the FBI that an insider of another foreign government asked him to set up a meeting with Clinton to propose campaign contributions on behalf of the foreign government in exchange for protection of its interests should Clinton become president. The FBI authorized the informant to deliver a message of support for Clinton at a fundraiser in January 2016, but after the fact, the informant reported making an illegal $2,700 contribution to the campaign on behalf of the insider.
Clinton Foundation Probes
Starting in January 2016, FBI field offices launched investigations of possible criminal activity related to the Clinton Foundation. The Little Rock office based the probe on an “intelligence product and corroborating financial reporting,” indicating that an industry likely engaged a federal public official in a flow of benefits scheme.
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