Secret recordings at center of FBI feud with DOJ over Clinton Foundation probe
AG Loretta Lynch is blocking the case from moving forward. Does one smell a rat?
Secret recordings are at the center of a feud between the FBI and the Department of Justice over an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
FBI agents wanted to aggressively pursue the Clinton Foundation investigation based on the recordings from informants and suspects in unrelated corruption cases, reports The Wall Street Journal. But DOJ prosecutors didn’t think the evidence was strong enough, and indicated to FBI agents they should back off the case.
A suspect monitored by the FBI in a public corruption case talks about alleged deals the Clintons made in the recordings, which the FBI agents deemed pertinent to the investigation they began in 2015 into the Clinton Foundation. Additionally, at least two confidential informants from other investigations had given the FBI details about the Clinton Foundation.
The case was opened in response to claims made in the book “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” in 2015.
FBI agents wanted to use the recordings as grounds to aggressively step up the investigation and gave a presentation to DOJ prosecutors in February making their case. But DOJ prosecutors were unimpressed, in part because the suspect talking about the alleged deals is not someone inside the Clinton Foundation, and indicated the FBI should stand down.
“The message was, ‘We’re done here,’” a source familiar with the matter told TheWSJ.
The disagreement fueled an ongoing battle between the FBI and the DOJ over the investigation, and some FBI agents were also frustrated with their superiors within the bureau. Agents on the case also ran into roadblocks from DOJ and FBI higher-ups with Clinton connections when they tried to review emails on laptops obtained as part of a separate investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Robert Capers, the prosecutor at the center of the fight, reportedly told officials in Washington at one point that FBI agents on the Clinton Foundation case “won’t let it go,” as DOJ officials became increasingly annoyed. Eventually a “very pissed off” senior Justice Department official called FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to voice the DOJ frustrations, which led to a heated conversation about the case.
“Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?” McCabe asked the official, who replied: “Of course not.”