UPDATE - These extraordinary developments broke last evening, as Americans were gearing up for a thrilling World Series finale. I'll hand things over to Fox News anchor Bret Baier and let him deliver one bombshell after another over two clips, the first from Special Report, then an On the Record follow-up -- during which the prospect of future indictments is floated, and the hacking details are revealed (confirming what other top officials had long suspected). Baier's information comes via a pair of FBI sources with "intimate knowledge" of the bureau's concurrent, ongoing criminal investigations into both Hillary Clinton's national security-compromising email scheme and the Clinton family foundation. Wow:
Real Clear Politics has a strong summary of the key revelations from Baier's two well-placed sources. Any one of them would be significant, if taken in isolation. Considered together, this is very serious stuff -- and some of it goes directly to the heart of the questions raised in the original post below:
(1) The Clinton Foundation investigation is far more expansive than anybody has reported so far and has been going on for more than a year.
(2) The laptops of Clinton aides Cherryl Mills and Heather Samuelson have not been destroyed, and agents are currently combing through them. The investigation has interviewed several people twice, and plans to interview some for a third time.
(3) Agents have found emails believed to have originated on Hillary Clinton's secret server on Anthony Weiner's laptop. They say the emails are not duplicates and could potentially be classified in nature.
(4) Sources within the FBI have told him that an indictment is "likely" in the case of pay-for-play at the Clinton Foundation, "barring some obstruction in some way" from the Justice Department.
(5) FBI sources say with 99% accuracy that Hillary Clinton's server has been hacked by at least five foreign intelligence agencies, and that information had been taken from it.
With hyper-partisanship reaching a fevered pitch in the waning days of a wild election cycle, let's not let this ball drop. Somewhat lost in the angry controversy over the FBI's renewed email probe based on new evidence is the revelation that contrary to Mrs. Clinton's assertions, the bureau has been investigating the Clinton Foundation for quite some time. That matter has torn the FBI and Justice Department asunder, with some officials insisting that the case is weak and unworthy of additional resources, while agents on the ground allege that their efforts are being stymied by higher-ups with a political agenda. We highlighted the Wall Street Journal's original scoop on this front, which confirmed largely-forgotten whispers about an active Clinton Foundation probe.
Writing at National Review Online, former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy -- whose professional friendship with James Comey and firsthand insights into such matters render his analysis uniquely valuable -- is shocked by the Journal's report. His full, deep-dive piece is worth a careful read, but I'll amplify some key points. McCarthy notes that investigating agents were "dissatisfied" by Brooklyn-based US prosecutors' denial of access to Clintonworld's virtual correspondence, contained on non-government computers seized in the email scandal investigation. When they asked to reiterate their request with another prosecutor, they were denied by Andrew McCabe (whose potentially problematic connection to the Clintons' political universe we detailed here). McCabe told them that they couldn't go "prosecutor shopping." But why might those agents have been fully justified in seeking a 'second opinion,' so to speak, in this case? McCarthy explains:
Readers are unlikely to know that the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn is not just any United States attorney’s office. It is the office that was headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch until President Obama elevated her to attorney general less than two years ago...When we learn that Clinton Foundation investigators are being denied access to patently relevant evidence by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, those are the prosecutors — Loretta Lynch’s prosecutors — we are talking about...As I have detailed, it was already clear that Lynch’s Justice Department was stunningly derelict in hamstringing the bureau’s e-mails investigation. But now that we know the FBI was simultaneously investigating the Clinton Foundation yet being denied access to the Clinton e-mails, the dereliction appears unconscionable. It had to be screamingly obvious that the Clinton State Department e-mails, run through a server that also supported Clinton Foundation activities, would be critically important to any probe of the Foundation.
Loretta Lynch has proven herself to be irreparably compromised as a partisan actor throughout this imbroglio. Federal investigators were reasonably pursuing relevant evidence, and hoped that permission on that front would be granted or denied by attorneys who did not owe their careers to Ms. Lynch. "Clearly, that is why agents on the FBI’s Clinton Foundation team wanted to get their investigation out of the EDNY’s clutches and move it to the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York (my office for many years, as well as Jim Comey’s). The SDNY has a tradition of relative independence from the Justice Department and a well-earned reputation for pursuing political-corruption cases aggressively — a reputation burnished by U.S. attorney Preet Bharara’s prosecutions of prominent politicians from both parties," McCarthy writes. They were shot down by McCabe. As for the importance of the potential evidence being sought, McCarthy elaborates:
While Clinton may not have been motivated to harm our national security, she was precisely motivated to conceal the corrupt interplay of the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. That was the real objective of the home-brew server system: Mrs. Clinton wanted to shield from Congress, the courts, and the public the degree to which she, Bill, and their confederates were cashing in on her awesome political influence as secretary of state. That is exactly why she did business outside the government system that captures all official e-mails; and, critically, it perfectly explains why she deleted and attempted to destroy 33,000 e-mails — risibly claiming they involved yoga routines, Chelsea’s wedding, and the like. While knowing the purpose of the private server system may not advance our understanding of the classified-information offenses, it greatly advances our understanding of the scheme to make the Clinton Foundation a State Department pay-to-play vehicle. Consequently, the Clinton e-mails generated in the course of this scheme are apt to be highly probative of public-corruption offenses.
This is common sense. Nevertheless, due to the unusual web of immunity-related side deals struck during the email probe, agents looking into the foundation were turned away. "Those emails were given to the FBI based on grants of partial immunity and limited-use agreements, meaning agents could only use them for the purpose of investigating possible mishandling of classified information," the Journal reported. McCarthy argues that this is crazy -- that the generous immunity deals should have been avoided in the first place via binding subpoenas (ascertained in a grand jury investigation, which theDOJ refused to pursue), and that even so, the immunity deals should only cover the two Clinton aides involved, and only apply to the email probe. Nevertheless, foundation-inspecting agents kept running into bureaucratic brick walls, fueling resentment and a sense that the Justice Department was protecting the Clintons. Is that conspiratorial thinking along the lines of Democrats' now-common smear that Comey is trying to tip the election to Trump? Not if you factor in the "very pissed off" phone call McCabe received from a DOJ honcho when he discovered the Clinton Foundation probe hadn't been shut down, or the fact that top Lynch deputy was apparently emailing "heads up" tip-offs about upcoming developments to Clintonite (and current campaign chair) John Podesta from his personal account:
By the way, the New York Times has now also reported on the FBI's Clinton Foundation probe, burying this...interesting status update at the very end of the story:
Buried the lead, imo. This at the very end of the NYT piece. pic.twitter.com/VMK37sG5Zr— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) November 2, 2016
Before you go, read Allahpundit taking Obama to the woodshed over his decision to reverse course and shiv James Comey after all. His riff on the "norms" Obama selectively insists be respected is quite scathing.