FBI agents investigating the Clinton Foundation wanted to get their hands on laptops obtained through a separate Hillary Clinton email investigation, but they were rebuffed twice. First by the office previously headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then by an FBI director awash in Clinton money.
The agents were told in no uncertain terms by both parties they could not see the emails found on the laptops, because the FBI obtained them on the condition they would only be used in the email investigation. The chain of events were buried in a Wall Street Journal report on internal feuding within the agency over Director James Comey’s decision to reopen the investigation into the emails.
Agents investigating the Clinton Foundation first asked federal prosecutors in Brooklyn to parse through emails from the laptops being reviewed in the Clinton email case, reports TheWSJ. Prosecutors at the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) said no, citing partial-immunity and limited use agreements with the owners of the nongovernmental laptops.
As Andrew McCarthy noted in National Review, that office is where Lynch came onto the national stage in 1999, when former President Bill Clinton appointed her as U.S. attorney general. She was there for two years under Clinton, and then returned in 2010 when President Obama reappointed her. Lynch remained in that office until she was sworn in as U.S. Attorney General in 2015. “That means the EDNY is full of attorneys Lynch hired and supervised,” McCarthy notes.
Some of the agents on the Foundation case were dissatisfied by the rebuff from prosecutors in the Brooklyn office, so they asked their superiors for permission to take their request to prosecutors in the Manhattan office. But they were rebuffed again, this time by deputy director Andrew McCabe, whose wife’s campaign benefitted enormously from a Clinton ally.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend of the Clintons, personally donated more than $200,000 to Jill McCabe’s state senate campaign in Virginia in 2015, and ensured another half a million dollars in donations to her campaign from his political action committee. McCabe lost the race, but she has McAuliffe to thank for a third of the campaign funds she received.
McAuliffe’s ties to the Clintons go deep. He co-chaired Bill’s 1996 re-election bid and Hillary’s 2008 presidential campaign. He personally guaranteed a loan the Clinton’s needed to buy a $1.7 million house in 1999, putting up $1.35 million of his own money because the Clinton’s were $5 million in debt from legal bills as a result of Bill’s presidency. He’s also run into trouble with the FBI because of his business connections with Hillary’s brother Tony Rodham, who spent time recruiting investors in China for a green car company linked to McAuliffe while she was serving as secretary of state.
His support of McCabe’s wife adds a decided stink to the deputy director’s handling of the FBI agents wanting step up their investigation of the Clinton Foundation. Indeed, McCabe has recused himself from the investigation involving McCabe because of those donations to his wife.
When the agents brought their request to him, McCabe reportedly told them they couldn’t go “prosecutor-shopping.” That response is one of the reasons some FBI agents are “uneasy” about the bureau’s handling of the Clinton Foundation case. Some of them say McCabe gave a stand-down order to agents on the case after he received a call from a “very pissed off” Justice Department official wondering why the probe into the Foundation was still going on.
Other agents deny the stand-down order. But TheWSJ reports: “For agents who already felt uneasy about FBI leadership’s handling of the Clinton Foundation case, the moment only deepened their concerns, these people said.”
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