Special Counsel John Durham’s highly-anticipated report on the origins of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign in 2016 revealed that top leaders at the Bureau shut down four criminal investigations into Hillary and Bill Clinton.
In 2014, the FBI investigated a “well-placed” confidential source’s claims that an unnamed foreign government intended to “contribute to Hillary Clinton’s anticipated presidential campaign, as a way to gain influence with Clinton should she win the presidency,” the report said.
The field office investigating these claims “almost immediately” sought a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant, but it remained “in limbo” for approximately four months, primarily due to Clinton’s then-expected presidential campaign.
As stated in Durham’s report:
According to another agent, the application lingered because “everyone was ‘super more careful’” and “scared with the big name [Clinton]” involved. 321 “[T]hey were pretty “tippy-toeing’ around HRC because there was a chance she would be the next President.”
Durham’s report also revealed that three separate FBI field offices in Washington, DC; Little Rock, Arkansas; and New York City, New York, opened investigations into “possibly criminal activity involving the Clinton Foundation” less than one year before the November 2016 presidential election.
One of these investigations was spawned by Breitbart News contributor Peter Schweizer’s book, Clinton Cash, which exposed the Clinton Foundation’s global nexus of influence peddling.
As Durham’s report detailed:
Beginning in January 2016, three different FBI field offices, the New York Field Office (“NYFO*), the Washington Field Office (“WFO*), and the Little Rock Field Office (“LRFO**), opened investigations into possible criminal activity involving the Clinton Foundation. The IRFO case opening communication referred to an intelligence product and corroborating financial reporting that a particular commercial “industry likely engaged a federal public official in a flow of benefits scheme, namely, large monetary contributions were made to a non-profit, under both direct and indirect control of the federal public official, in exchange for favorable government action and/or influence.” The WFO investigation was opened as a preliminary investigation, because the Case Agent wanted to determine if he could develop additional information to corroborate the allegations in a recently-published book, Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer, before seeking to convert the matter to a full investigation. Additionally, the LRFO and NYFO investigations included predication based on source reporting that identified foreign governments that had made, or offered to make, contributions to the Foundation in exchange for favorable or preferential treatment from Clinton.
Speaking with the DailyMail, Schweizer said he received “a call from somebody from the New York FBI office after the book came out.”
“There was a New York Times piece on Uranium One. It was kind of confirming what we had in the book. That’s what I think triggered the interest,” Schweizer said. “With the Clinton Foundation, you have the transfer of large sums of money, you had policy positions that were affected, and you had certifiable evidence.”
“I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t say what was illegal. But there was definitely a there there, with all the speeches, donations, and policy effects, and nobody’s ever really disputed that,” he added.
Ultimately, FBI leadership held a joint meeting with the three field offices, FBI Headquarters, and appropriate United States Attorney’s offices. The first joint meeting occurred on February 1, 2016. However, the Department of Justice Public Integrity Section Chief, Ray Hulser, said the FBI briefing at that meeting was “poorly presented,” and saw “insufficient predication for at least one of the investigations.”
A second joint meeting occurred on February 22, 2016, which former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe chaired.
McCabe “initially directed the field offices to close their cases,” but later agreed to “reconsider the final disposition of the cases,” Durham’s report noted.
Paul Abbate, who was the FBI Washington Field Office’s Assistant Director-in-Charge at the time, described McCabe’s demeanor during the joint meeting as “negative,” “annoyed,” and “angry.”
As the report detailed:
According to Abbate, McCabe stated “they [the Department] say there’s nothing here” and “why are we even doing this?” At the close of the meeting, Campbell directed that for any overt investigative steps to be taken, the Deputy Director’s approval would be required.
Durham’s report also revealed that former FBI Director James Comey demanded, through an intermediary, the New York Field Office “cease and desist” their Clinton Foundation investigation.
Earlier in the week, McCabe claimed the Durham report was “never a legitimate investigation.”
“We knew from the very beginning exactly what John Durham was going to conclude, and that’s what we saw today. We knew from the very beginning this was never a legitimate investigation,” McCabe said. “This was a political errand to exact some sort of retribution on Donald Trump’s perceived enemies and the FBI.”
Durham’s report highlighted the FBI’s different approaches regarding their investigations into Clinton and former President Donald Trump.
“The use of defensive briefings in 2015 contrasts with the FBI’s failure to provide a defensive briefing to the Trump campaign approximately one year later when Australia shared the information from Papadopoulos,” the report stated.
Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee’s Weaponization of the Federal Government subcommittee, told the DailyMail that Durham’s report warrants “additional exposure and review.”
“The Clintons had a team of people at the FBI running interference for them to avoid criminal culpability,” Gaetz told the outlet. “These matters absolutely warrant additional exposure and review.”
Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said the FBI’s investigations into the Clintons “were shut down by the higher-ups who had an obvious political desire to see Donald Trump lose and Hillary Clinton win.”
“It’s disgusting really. Absolutely these investigations should be revisited,” he told DailyMail. “There’s no reason why Congress can’t have a series of hearings with the field agents who were pursuing the Clinton Foundation, and public interviews with them as well.”