WASHINGTON – F.B.I. The agents renewed their questions about the Clinton Foundation's dealings as President Trump and leading Republicans ask the Justice Department to take a fresh look at the politically-charged corruption charges, officials said on Friday. # 39; investigation. They said agents had interviewed people related to the foundation to find out if donations had been made in exchange for political favors while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. Career prosecutors had closed the investigation in 2016 for lack of evidence.
During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump scored his rival "Crooked Hillary" and promised to send him to jail when he won. He briefly struck a more lenient tone after the election and said he had no interest in pushing for a lawsuit.
But as his legal problems mounted, Mr. Trump returned to his attacks on his favorite target. With four former assistants facing federal charges and special advocate, Robert S. Mueller III, investigating him and his campaign, Mr. Trump openly demanded that Ms. Clinton be made aware of the fact that she was being held. an investigation and one of its principal assistants be imprisoned.
It is unclear exactly when the FBI renewed its interest in the Clinton Foundation, or whether agents were instructed by someone in Washington to start investigating again. But the FBI's decision to take additional investigative measures may outrage the Democrats who will see the investigation as an attempt by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appease the president.
As Mueller's investigation intensified, the president and his conservative allies mounted sharp counterattacks attempting to discredit the FBI and federal prosecutors. Mr Trump described the investigation as a witch hunt and accused F.B.I. Former Bureau Director, James B. Comey's Leadership, Being Partial to Ms. Clinton
Some Congressional Republicans have sought to cast doubt on an explosive issue that has arisen. unfounded allegations concerning Mr Trump. On Friday, two influential Republican senators asked the Justice Department to check whether the author of the file, Christopher Steele, a respected former British spy, had lied to the federal authorities
. Trump's calls to investigate Mrs. Clinton break with the long-standing presidential practice. Since the Watergate scandal, the Department of Justice has conducted criminal investigations largely free of political influence from the White House. Mr. Trump, on the other hand, stated that he had "the absolute right to do what I want to do with the Department of Justice."
The Clinton Foundation dismissed the investigation as politicized.
"Time and time again, the Clinton Foundation has been the subject of politically motivated allegations and, on numerous occasions, these allegations have proved to be false," said Craig Minassian A spokesman for the foundation, in a statement
Merrill, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Clinton, added: "Let's call it what it is: a sham. It's a philanthropy that does the work of life, which the Republicans have tried to turn into a political football. It's outrageous and it should concern all Americans. "
The foundation, which was created in 1997 under the presidency of Bill Clinton and raised about $ 2 billion, was a repeat target for Republicans.In 2015, the conservative author Peter Schweizer published "Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Bill and Hillary Rich," an investigation into donations made to foreign foundations
M. Schweizer is the chairman of the Government Accountability Institute, where Stephen K. Bannon, former chief strategist of Mr. Trump, was a founder and executive chairman.
The Department of Justice, in a letter sent in November In the Judiciary Chamber Committee, prosecutors would look into allegations that donations to the Clinton Foundation were tied to a 2010 Obama administration ruling to allow a Russian nuclear agency to "clean up" the country. buy Uranium One, a company that had access to uranium in the United States, as well as
The letter seemed to be a direct response to Mr. Trump's statement a few days earlier that he was disappointed with Mr. Sessions for not investigating Mrs. Clinton. An administration official stated that the F.B.I. The Department of Justice wrote in the letter that the Attorney General had ordered senior federal prosecutors to assess certain issues. "These prosecutors would make recommendations on the desirability of opening cases that are not investigated, if ongoing issues require additional resources or if issues warrant merit. appointment of a special board. "
Several FBI offices, including those in New York and Little Rock, Ark., Had investigated the foundation. Under the direction of Mark F. Giuliano, then deputy director of the F.B.I., the investigations were consolidated at F.B.I. its headquarters in Washington and placed under the supervision of career prosecutors in matters of public integrity.
The decision of F.B.I. officials and prosecutors not to go ahead with the case irritated some agents while others believed that there was little evidence to support more aggressive measures during a presidential campaign.
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