Political News

New York Times: Prosecutor tapped by Barr to investigate Russia probe is now looking into Clinton Foundation

Posted September 24, 2020 11:46 a.m. EDT

— John Durham, the federal prosecutor reviewing the FBI's Russia investigation for Attorney General William Barr, has sought information about the bureau's handling of the Clinton Foundation investigation, according to a report from The New York Times.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Times reported Thursday that Durham has pursued documents and interviews about how federal authorities handled a probe into allegations of corruption at the charity of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Durham was tapped by Barr last year to examine the origins of the FBI's 2016 investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign, but Thursday's report from the Times suggests the scope of Durham's investigation is broader.

According to the Times, Durham's team suggested to others that they're looking at whether the investigators in the Russia probe flouted laws or policies -- and that they were comparing the FBI Russia probe to the Clinton Foundation investigation.

The Times noted that it's unclear if Durham's team was looking for similar violations in the FBI's Clinton Foundation investigation. The newspaper also said it was not clear whether the comparison between the two FBI investigations would weigh into the outcome of Durham's inquiry for Barr.

Former law enforcement officials declined to discuss the charity investigation with Durham's team, because they viewed it as highly unusual, according to the Times.

A spokesman for Durham declined to comment to the Times.

The Clinton Foundation told the Times in a statement that it has been "regularly been subjected to baseless, politically motivated allegations, and time after time these allegations have been proven false."

Ahead of the 2016 election, FBI agents from four field offices had opened preliminary inquiries into whether there had been any impropriety in the Clinton Foundation's dealings with donors.

They sought to get permission to formally conduct investigations, including the ability to subpoena records, causing tensions within the bureau and the Justice Department, CNN previously reported.

Justice officials declined to give the authorization for overt investigative techniques, citing a lack of sufficient evidence and concerns about the close proximity to the election, CNN reported at the time.

CNN reported in 2018 that the FBI and federal prosecutors began actively investigating whether Clinton Foundation donors were improperly promised policy favors or special access to Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state in exchange for donations to the charity, as well as whether tax-exempt funds were misused.

The Times reported that the charity was served in 2018 with a grand jury subpoena for foundation records and compiled.

President Donald Trump and Republicans have accused the Clinton Foundation of being a corrupt and opaque institution, while the foundation has always rejected the "pay-for-play" accusations.

Congressional Democrats have raised concerns over Durham's investigation, questioning whether it's being misused for political purposes.

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