There was a brief but interesting exchange today between Rep. Jason Chaffetz and FBI Director Comey. Asked if the FBI had taken a look at the Clinton Foundation, Comey pointedly refused to answer.
The exchange began with Rep. Chaffetz trying to determine exactly what the FBI had and hot not investigated. “Let’s put the boundaries on this, what you didn’t look at,” Chaffetz said. He then asked a series of question about various aspects of the case. Had the FBI looked at Clinton’s compliance with FOIA? Comey said no. Had they investigated possible perjury in Clinton’s Congressional testimony? Again the answer was no. Is the FBI still investigating Hillary’s top aides? No, the FBI did not recommend prosecution of anyone involved.
But when Chaffetz came to the topic of the Clinton Foundation, Comey’s answer was different. “Did you look at the Clinton Foundation?” Chaffetz asked. Comey replied, “I’m not going to comment on the existence or non-existence of any other investigations.”
Chaffetz let that answer hand in the air for a few seconds and then asked, “Was the Clinton Foundation tied in to this investigation?” Comey replied, “I’m not going to answer that.”
One possible reading of Comey’s reaction is that there is still some ongoing investigation of the Clinton Foundation about which he does not want to comment. There is also some reason to think such an investigation is possible. Back in January, Fox News’ Catherine Herridge reported that the FBI was investigating possible public corruption at 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…
“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.
In May, Rep. Issa told Maria Bartiromo that he believed the FBI might issue a conclusion in the email investigation before the election but leave the Clinton Foundation until next year:
“I believe they are going to have to make a summary finding as to her violation of the national records act, her taking of the documents, and of course a classified portion,” said Issa who wielded subpoena power and oversaw an investigative staff while he chaired the Oversight Committee.
“They’re going to have to leave the … coordinating her activities and President Clinton’s activities and Chelsea’s activities in the Clinton Foundation, they’re probably going to have to leave that until after the election,” Issa said.
There is no direct confirmation of either report so it’s impossible to know if any of this is happening, but Comey’s refusal to answer that one specific question does leave the door open. He could have simply ruled it out but for some reason he did not.