FBI expands Hillary e-mail probe to investigate corruption
posted at 10:41 am on January 11, 2016 by Ed Morrissey
The FBI’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s secret e-mail server has expanded, Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne exclusively report, into a new and more personal direction. While continuing to press on the question of whether Hillary violated the Espionage Act on more than 1300 occasions, they also now have reason to look into whether the former Secretary of State used her office to enrich the family through the Clinton Foundation:
The FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state has expanded to look at whether the possible “intersection” of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business may have violated public corruption laws, three intelligence sources not authorized to speak on the record told Fox News.
This track is in addition to the focus on classified material found on Clinton’s personal server.
“The agents are investigating the possible intersection of Clinton Foundation donations, the dispensation of State Department contracts and whether regular processes were followed,” one source said.
The source told Herridge that this expansion took place relatively early in the investigation — in April 2015. Over 100 agents have now been assigned to the probe, 50 of whom have been “TDYed” — temporarily assigned as the probe has expanded. That’s a rather significant commitment to the Clinton probe, and suggests that the FBI sees a need to do more than just read some redacted e-mails surrendered by Hillary after a long battle.
This development suggests something else, too. Hillary refused to turn over the server for even longer, finally surrendering the hardware last August. Originally, after being forced to give up her e-mails, she and her team went through the system and printed out about half of the 60,000+ messages it held. Hillary claimed the rest were personal and non-work-related, about her daughter Chelsea’s wedding plans and quick communications with Bill. That explanation is absurd on its face; that would amount to more than 20 personal e-mails a day for four years. At the time, many suspected that Hillary and her team deleted anything having to do with the Clinton Foundation, and then wiped the server so that the software could not be accessed.
Not long after the FBI took possession of the server, though, the FBI became optimistic that the server software could be recovered — including all of the deleted e-mails. That optimism increased when the backups to the server were potentially recovered from data firms involved in handling Hillary’s server. Since then, the news on that front has been quiet, but the FBI probe appears to have significantly expanded.
At the beginning of this probe, the Clinton Foundation appeared to have the most potential for career-ending revelations about Hillary Clinton, especially considering the millions of dollars that poured into the family coffers during her tenure at State — approximately $57 million from all sources, much of that through Bill’s speaking engagements. The FBI may be connecting all sorts of dots now, and that could force the Department of Justice into a very uncomfortable position. Soon.
Update: Speaking of pressure on the DoJ, Herridge reports that it’s building to a crescendo in the FBI:
One intelligence source told Fox News that FBI agents would be “screaming” if a prosecution is not pursued because “many previous public corruption cases have been made and successfully prosecuted with much less evidence than what is emerging in this investigation.”
The FBI is particularly on edge in the wake of how the case of former CIA Director David Petraeus was handled.
One of the three sources said some FBI agents felt Petraeus was given a slap on the wrist for sharing highly classified information with his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell, as well as lying to FBI agents about his actions. Petraeus pled guilty to a misdemeanor in March 2015 after a two-plus-year federal investigation in which Attorney General Eric Holder initially declined to prosecute. …
By contrast, in the Clinton case, the number of classified emails has risen to at least 1,340. A 2015 appeal by the State Department to challenge the “Top Secret” classification of at least two emails failed and, as Fox News first reported, is now considered a settled matter.
Barack Obama might be forced to appoint a special prosecutor. And that could get very ugly for the Clintons and their foundation as well.
Update: Originally, I only credited Catherine Herridge for the exclusive, but Pamela Browne co-reported it with Herridge. I’ve fixed it above, and apologize for my error of omission.