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WASHINGTON – The Justice Department has resumed an investigation into the Clinton Foundation, reportedly examining whether the charitable foundation promoted “pay-to-play” politics and other illegal activities while Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary of state.
FBI agents from Little Rock, Ark., are leading the investigation, according to reports – making that state capital ground zero once again in regards to federal examinations of the Clintons.
Among the areas now being examined, according to reports, are whether donors were given leverage to influence government policies, or special access to important decision-makers in the Obama administration. Also under review is whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use.
The resumption of the investigation was first reported by The Hill.
The probe has long been called for by President Donald Trump, who attacked the foundation during the 2016 presidential campaign, in which he defeated Clinton, with tweets and remarks of “crooked Hillary” and “Lock Her Up.”
Trump has been increasingly focused on Clinton as the investigation into his alleged ties with Russia heats up. He tweeted Friday morning that the investigation into him is simply a “hoax.”
Asked about the existence of the Clinton Foundation probe on “Fox and Friends” Friday morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called it “good news.”
“Certainly I think there have been a lot of things that give us cause for concern. I think it’s a great thing that it’s being looked at. And we’ll have to wait and see what happens. but there’s certainly been a lot of information out there that I think gives all of us cause for concern and I think it’s important that they are finally taking a look at it and we’ll see what comes from it,” Sanders said.
The Clinton Foundation has raised almost $2 billion from its founding in 2001 to 2015, its records show. Philanthropy watchdog organizations have given the work high marks for transparency and money going to those in need. For example, the Charity Navigator, which monitors foundations and charities, gave it four stars with an overall rating of 93.1 out of 100, with financial getting a 95 score and accountability and transparency a 93 mark.
In a statement, Clinton Foundation spokesperson Craig Minassian said: “Time after time, the Clinton Foundation has been subjected to politically motivated allegations, and time after time these allegations have been proven false. None of this has made us waiver in our mission to help people.
“The Clinton Foundation has demonstrably improved the lives of millions of people across America and around the world while earning top ratings from charity watchdog groups in the process. There are real issues in our society needing attention that the Clinton Foundation works hard to solve every day. So we’re going to stay focused on what really matters.”
The investigation into the Clinton Foundation appeared to end in 2016, in part because Justice Department officials feared that it might seem that investigators were trying to hurt Clinton’s presidential bid. However, the reality appears to be the probe was merely paused.
Because of its global donor base and Hillary Clinton’s position as secretary of state, the foundation drew questions when donations flowed from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Algeria that some people deemed unacceptable.
The first look at the Clinton Foundation started in 2015, when FBI agents in Los Angeles, New York, Little Rock and Washington, D.C., began looking at contributors to the charity who appeared in the news.
The Clinton Foundation inquiry is separate from the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, though Republicans have said that probe, too, needs to be reopened. The email investigation focused on whether Clinton or her aides mishandled classified information by using the private server.
FBI Director James Comey recommended in July 2016 that case be closed without charges, and though work on it briefly resumed in October — soon before the presidential election — he ultimately did not change his mind, and the Justice Department endorsed his recommendation.
WASHINGTON – Members of the House Freedom Caucus are urging the Department of Justice to investigate claims that the FBI gave Hillary Clinton preferential treatment during the probe into her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
“I call upon Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions. It is time for him to show the type of leadership to make sure the American people get the answers they deserve,” Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Freedom Caucus co-chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) suggested that the FBI’s investigation as well as probes by Congress and Special Counsel Robert Mueller into allegations of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials have been given far more weight than that of reports that the Clinton campaign indirectly engaged Russia by entering into a contract with a law firm that retained a security firm to prepare a dossier alleging collusion between Trump campaign members and Russia.
Jordan said the caucus has requested the release of documents related to any surveillance that might have taken place.
“We sent a letter to Attorney General Sessions, Deputy Attorney General [Rod] Rosenstein, and FBI Director [Christopher] Wray asking them to make available, make public, the application that we believe was taken to the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court to enable the spying to take place on Americans associated with the Trump campaign,” he said.
Recently released emails obtained from FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe show him referring to the Clinton email investigation as “special” in nature. In the emails McCabe said the investigation was handled by “a small team” at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. as opposed to the Bureau’s field office in the nation’s capital.
Former FBI Director James Comey in June told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch directed him to refer to the Clinton email probe as a “matter” rather than an “investigation.”
Lynch in the summer of 2016 was heavily criticized for creating what appeared to be an impression of impropriety when reports surfaced that she had a private meeting with former President Bill Clinton on the tarmac of the Phoenix airport. The meeting occurred just days before Comey announced that Hillary Clinton would not be charged.
Reports have surfaced suggesting Comey might have drafted a statement exonerating Clinton prior to the completion of the investigation.
WASHINGTON– President Donald Trump responded to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea Monday by pointing to former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
“Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI and nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and it destroyed his life, and I think it’s a shame,” Trump told reporters from the White House South Lawn.
It’s unclear what Trump was referring to since the FBI has not alleged that they were mislead by Clinton when she was interviewed last summer during an investigation into her use of a private server while Secretary of State.
On Friday, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI over conversations he had with the then-Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.
According to documents released by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, Flynn denied to the FBI that he had asked Kislyak to limit Russia’s response to sanctions and tried to influence their vote before the United Nations Security Council in separate conversations in December of last year.
The conversations took place in January, after Flynn had joined the White House.
In a statement, Flynn said that he would be cooperating with Mueller’s probe into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
On Saturday, a tweet from Trump’s account said that Flynn was fired, in part, for lying to the FBI.
Trump attorney John Dowd claimed that he had written the tweet after questions arose over whether or not it implied that the President attempted to obstruct justice by reportedly urging FBI Director James Comey to drop an investigation into Flynn.
Trump has denied making that request to Comey.
WASHINGTON- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) suggested that Hillary Clinton should not have rushed to write a memoir about her failed presidential bid and that it is time for Clinton to stop re-litigiating the 2016 election.
“What’s the (expletive) point? Keep the fight up? History will judge that campaign, and it’s always a period of time before they do. You’ve got to move on,” McCain said in an interview with Esquire Magazine that was published Sunday.
“This is Hillary’s problem right now: She doesn’t have anything to do,” he added.
Clinton’s memoir, What Happened, was released in February and since that time the former Democratic presidential candidate has gone on a series of tours promoting the book.
Clinton has said she accepts responsibility for her defeat but has blamed others for undermining her candidacy.
A Wesleyan Media 2016 Election Study published in March said that Clinton ran one of the most ineffective campaigns in nearly two decades.
The study attributed its analysis in part to Clinton waiting until the last minute to run advertisements in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – crucial swing-states that Democrats had carried for more than two decades prior to the election of President Donald Trump.
Clinton did not campaign in Wisconsin whereas Trump zeroed in on that state as well as others that had experienced a chronic loss of manufacturing jobs.
WASHINGTON—In a sense, the 2016 election continued over the weekend, more than a year after it formally ended with Donald Trump defeating Hillary Clinton.
Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can’t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2017
“Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time,” Trump tweeted. “She just can’t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!”
Clinton, who is promoting her book What Happened, delivered a number of critiques of Trump’s presidency over the weekend, including an interview with New York City’s WABC in which she said that he “disgraced the office.”
Clinton also used the interview to revisit sexual misconduct allegations levied against Trump during the 2016 campaign, comparing them to those facing Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).
“Look at the contrast between Al Franken, accepting responsibility, apologizing, and Roy Moore and Donald Trump, who have done neither,” Clinton said.
During a panel discussion in Little Rock, Arkansas on Sunday marking the 25th anniversary of her husband, former President Bill Clinton’s 1992 win, Clinton said that Trump was “obsessed” with her speaking out against him.
“How does he get anything done?” Clinton said, addressing Trump’s tweet earlier in the day. “I don’t understand it. Maybe that’s the whole point.”
WASHINGTON- Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering the appointment of special counsel to probe alleged connections between the Clinton Foundation and an Obama-era uranium deal with Russia.
“The Attorney General has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote in a Monday letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).
“These senior prosecutors will report directly to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel,” Boyd explained.
The Hill last month reported that the FBI had uncovered evidence suggesting Russian entities had bribed interested parties prior to the Clinton State Department and other agencies approving a 2010 contract that allowed the Canadian mining company Uranium One to sell uranium deposits to the Russian state-owned nuclear company ROSATOM.
Reports suggest some ROSATOM investors may have had financial ties to the Clinton Foundation.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) last month said Congress will investigate the reports.
Clinton has dismissed reports about the scandal as part of a Republican witch hunt and many of her fellow Democrats have said the probe is designed to distract the public from investigations into allegations of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
News of the potential appointment comes just days after reports emerged stating that the lobbying group founded by former Clinton campaign manager John Podesta and his brother Tony may be shutting down.