The FBI is investigating whether Hillary Clinton’s State Department improperly directed contracts to Clinton Foundation donors, in possible violation of public corruption laws, Fox News is reporting.
Three sources confirmed the previously-unknown investigation angle to Fox reporters Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne.
“The agents are investigating the possible intersection of Clinton Foundation donations, the dispensation of State Department contracts and whether regular processes were followed,” one law enforcement source told Fox.
Examples abound of Clinton’s State Department opening doors for Clinton Foundation donors, as well as to the then-secretary of state’s friends and political allies. (RELATED: Ethics Complaint Says Big Clinton Donors Got State Dept Access)
According to one Fox source, the FBI opened its public corruption probe in April 2015, months before the bureau officially opened its investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server to maintain her email account. Investigators seized Clinton’s server from a New Jersey data center in August after two “top secret” emails discovered on the device.
Another Fox source says that approximately 100 special agents have been assigned to the investigation and were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements. The purpose of that step is unclear — it could be that FBI officials want to protect classified information or that they want to prevent leaks about the case.
FBI director James Comey has said that he is taking the investigation very seriously and says that politics will not play a factor in the probe.
According to one Fox intelligence source, prosecution should be pursued in the case because “many previous public corruption cases have been made and successfully prosecuted with much less evidence than what is emerging in this investigation.”
Clinton’s ability to skirt State Department protocol, which generally provides state.gov email accounts to its employees upon their hire, is also “increasingly significant,” a former State Department official told Fox. (RELATED: Mysterious Clinton Talking Points Likely Dealt With Volatile Standoff In Sudan Oil Region)
“It is virtually automatic when one comes on board at the State Department to be assigned an email address,” the source told the network.
“It would have taken an affirmative act not to have one assigned…and it would also mean it was all planned out before she took office. This certainly raises questions about the so-called legal advice she claimed to have received from inside the State Department that what she was doing was proper,” the source continued.
Neither Clinton nor the State Department have said who, if anyone, approved Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal email account. The Democratic presidential hopeful has implied in some interviews that she made the decision alone. And while dozens of State Department officials knew that Clinton used the personal email account, it is still unclear how many knew that she maintained a private server.Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, responded to the news of the new probe in a statement.
“The reported expansion of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s secret email server to include public corruption is a very troubling development,” he said. “The favoritism toward donors to Clinton’s family foundation from her own State Department is undeniable and Democrats must now be rethinking whether it was smart to put all of their eggs in one basket.”