Federal law enforcement authorities are actively investigating the Clinton Foundation and whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exchanged policy favors or special access for contributions to the charity, the Hill reported and CNN confirmed.
The move comes as President Trump has long called for prosecution of Clinton, his rival in the 2016 election, and GOP lawmakers since have echoed his demands for more Clinton investigations as the Russia probe of Trump and his own campaign heats up.
According to the reports, the investigation is being led by the FBI office in Little Rock, Arkansas, where the foundation was formed, and CNN reported that it was being overseen by the U.S. Attorney’s Office there.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, as well as the Justice Department, declined to comment in the CNN story. The FBI office in Little Rock referred the Hill to the FBI headquarters, which also declined to comment.
The NYT also independently reported the FBI activity in the case.
The Hill’s report is based on a witness who was interviewed by the FBI, as well as law enforcement sources:
One witness recently interviewed by the FBI described the session to The Hill as “extremely professional and unquestionably thorough” and focused on questions about whether donors to Clinton charitable efforts received any favorable treatment from the Obama administration on a policy decision previously highlighted in media reports.
A spokesperson for Clinton bashed the investigation, telling CNN it was a “sham.”
“It began with a long-debunked project spearheaded by Steve Bannon during the presidential campaign,” the spokesman, Nick Merrill said, referring to an anti-Clinton book Bannon pushed. “It continues with [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions doing Trump’s bidding by heeding his calls to meddle with a department that is supposed to function independently.”
A foundation spokesperson told the Hill that the charity would not be distracted from its philanthropic work.
“Time after time, the Clinton Foundation has been subjected to politically motivated allegations, and time after time these allegations have been proven false,” the spokesman, Craig Minassi said.
Chants of “lock her up” were a common refrain during Trump’s campaign stump speeches, and during a 2016 debate, he vowed to instruct his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to “look into” Clinton’s “situation.
Since taking office, Trump has publicly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not opening putting enough focus on Clinton, a demand Republicans have also made of Sessions.