A preliminary FBI inquiry into the Clinton Foundation initiated this summer was based in part on Peter Schweizer’s book “Clinton Cash,” the New York Times reported Tuesday.
“Clinton Cash” was funded by the Government Accountability Institute, a conservative nonprofit co-founded by Steve Bannon and was heavily promoted by Breitbart News, where Bannon was executive chairman before taking leave to become Donald Trump’s campaign CEO.
In the book, Schweizer alleges that foreign governments paid the Clinton Foundation large sums in exchange for favors from the State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. He wrote that Bill Clinton also accepted speaking fees and donations from foreign entities while the State Department was weighing whether to award contracts to groups or people affiliated with those benefactors.
According to the Times and other outlets, the FBI in August launched an inquiry into the claims surfaced in Schweizer’s book and news reports. At the time, FBI and Justice Department officials agreed that going public with the investigation, which was then in its early stages, could unduly influence the presidential election.
The Times reported that the New York-based FBI investigation procured little evidence to support these quid-pro-quo allegations before deciding to put the inquiry on hold until after Nov. 8.
The agency made a similar decision to put a hold on an investigation into the business dealings of Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. The FBI is looking into the millions in undisclosed payments he allegedly received from the political party of deposed Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych, according to the Times. Manafort denied he is facing official scrutiny.
“Clinton Cash” made waves during the presidential primaries, selling millions of copies, receiving heavy mainstream press coverage, and receiving millions of views on Breitbart’s YouTube channel.
Last fall, Bannon boasted about the book’s reach to Bloomberg’s Joshua Green, saying, “We’ve got the 15 best investigative reporters at the 15 best newspapers in the country all chasing after Hillary Clinton.”