November 19, 2015: The Washington Post publishes an in-depth analysis of the history of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s political fundraising.

A graphic from The Washington Post article "Inside the Clinton Donor Network." (Credit: The Washington Post)

A graphic from The Washington Post article “Inside the Clinton Donor Network.” (Credit: The Washington Post)

It reveals that the Clintons “have built an unrivaled global network of donors while pioneering fundraising techniques that have transformed modern politics,” raising more money than any other politicians in US history. All their fundraising combined over four decades in politics has raised at least $3 billion. $2 billion of that has gone to the Clinton Foundation and another billion has gone to their various political campaigns, especially presidential races. Additionally, since 2000, the Clintons were directly paid more than $150 million from giving speeches. The Clintons have a loyal core of about 2,700 rich political contributors who make up less than one percent of donors who gave more than $200 but have given 21 percent of all the money. The Post comments, “The Clintons’ steady cultivation of financial benefactors—many of whom had interests before the government—has led to charges of conflicts of interest and impropriety, such as Bill Clinton’s end-of-term presidential pardons sought by donors. […] Most of all, the Clintons have excelled at leveraging access to their power and celebrity.” (The Washington Post, 11/19/2015)

January 11, 2016: The FBI’s Clinton investigation could be looking into Clinton Foundation corruption.

Fortune 100 companies that donated to the Clinton Foundation and lobbied the State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary. (Credit: Washington Examiner)

Fortune 100 companies that donated to the Clinton Foundation and lobbied the State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary. (Credit: opensecrets.org)

Fox News reports, “The FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state has expanded to look at whether the possible ‘intersection’ of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business may have violated public corruption laws,” according to three unnamed “intelligence sources.”

One source says, “The agents are investigating the possible intersection of Clinton Foundation donations, the dispensation of State Department contracts, and whether regular processes were followed.”

Clinton denies this, saying, “No, there’s nothing like that that is happening.”

However, Fox News points out, “Experts including a former senior FBI agent said the Bureau does not have to notify the subject of an investigation.” (Fox News, 1/11/2016) 

One month later, the Washington Post will report that the State Department issued a subpoena to the Clinton Foundation in late 2015. (The Washington Post, 2/11/2016)

In October 2016, the Wall Street Journal will confirm the existence of an FBI Clinton Foundation investigation, which has been on-going since 2015.

January 28, 2016: Clinton’s email scandal could be linked to Clinton Foundation corruption.

John Schindler, a former National Security Agency (NSA) analyst and counterintelligence officer, writes, “Why Ms. Clinton and her staff refused to use State Department email for official business is an open and important question. Suspicion inevitably falls on widespread allegations of pay-for-play, a corrupt scheme whereby foreign entities gave cash to the Clinton Global Initiative in exchange for Ms. Clinton’s favors at Foggy Bottom [State Department headquarters]. […] Regardless of whether Ms. Clinton was engaged in political corruption, she unquestionably cast aside security as secretary of state.” The Clinton Global Initiative is one of the Clinton Foundation’s major projects. (The New York Observer, 1/28/2016)

Before February 2016: The FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation gains evidence from at least two confidential informants involved in other investigations.

Peter Schweizer (Credit: public domain)

In February 2016, there is a key meeting between FBI and Justice Department officials about the direction of the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation. The investigation began in the summer of 2015, following the publication of the book Clinton Cash by conservative author Peter Schweizer.

At first, the investigation mostly focused on the allegations against the foundation in the book. But the Wall Street Journal will report that by the time of the February 2016 meeting, “Within the FBI, some felt they had moved well beyond the allegations made in the anti-Clinton book. At least two confidential informants from other public-corruption investigations had provided details about the Clinton Foundation to the FBI, these people said.”

The Journal will report, “The FBI had secretly recorded conversations of a suspect in a public-corruption case talking about alleged deals the Clintons made… The agents listening to the recordings couldn’t tell from the conversations if what the suspect was describing was accurate, but it was, they thought, worth checking out.”

However, prosecutors in the Justice Department think “the talk was hearsay and a weak basis to warrant aggressive tactics, like presenting evidence to a grand jury, because the person who was secretly recorded wasn’t inside the Clinton Foundation.” This causes some FBI agents to grow increasingly frustrated with resistance from the Justice Department as well as some leaders in the FBI.

In the February 2016 meeting, the Justice Department will turn down a request from the FBI investigation for grand jury backing. Without it, they can’t gather evidence using subpoenas or search warrants. But the investigation will continue without those legal powers. (The Wall Street Journal, 11/2/2016)

Before February 2016: A suspicious bank transaction draws the attention of the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation.

In November 2016, CNN will report that in the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation, “at least one FBI field office also received notification of a possible suspicious bank transaction. The transaction involving a Clinton Foundation donor was flagged in what is known as a suspicious activity report, routine notices sent through the Treasury Department’s financial enforcement arm.”

The timing of this incident is not clear. But the CNN article will mention it prior to describing a pivotal meeting between the FBI and Justice Department in February 2016. (CNN, 11/2/2016)

February 2016: The Justice Department declines to give the FBI Clinton Foundation investigation the legal authority for more investigative powers, but the investigation continues anyway.

In the summer of 2015the FBI begins investigating the Clinton Foundation. By early 2016, four FBI field offices (New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Little Rock, Arkansas) have been pursuing information about the foundation.

In February 2016, FBI officials make a presentation to the Justice Department, apparently trying to get more legal authority, such as subpoena power, which can only come from the Justice Department agreeing to empanel a grand jury. The FBI had gained evidence from at least two informants who came up in other investigations and were critical of the foundation. It also may have learned of a suspicious bank transaction by this time.

Assistant Attorney General, Leslie Caldwell (Credit: Jason Doiy)

Assistant Attorney General, Leslie Caldwell (Credit: Jason Doiy)

The meeting is held in Washington, DC, and is attended by FBI officials, prosecutors from the Justice Department’s public integrity section, and Leslie Caldwell, the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division. Robert Capers, the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, will later play a key role in the conflict between the FBI and Justice Department, but neither he nor prosecutors from his office attend. (The Wall Street Journal, 11/2/2016)

The Wall Street Journal will report on this in October 2016: “By all accounts, the meeting didn’t go well. Some said that is because the FBI didn’t present compelling evidence to justify more aggressive pursuit of the Clinton Foundation, and that the career anti-corruption prosecutors in the room simply believed it wasn’t a very strong case. Others said that from the start, the Justice Department officials were stern, icy, and dismissive of the case. ‘That was one of the weirdest meetings I’ve ever been to,’ one participant told others afterward, according to people familiar with the matter.”

The Journal will add, “Anti-corruption prosecutors at the Justice Department told the FBI at the meeting they wouldn’t authorize more aggressive investigative techniques, such as subpoenas, formal witness interviews, or grand jury activity. But the FBI officials believed they were well within their authority to pursue the leads and methods already under way, these people said.”

As a result, the FBI foundation investigation(s) will continue, but without subpoena power and other common investigative powers. (The Wall Street Journal, 10/30/2016)

Not long after the meeting, the Justice Department will allegedly send a message for all offices to “stand down,” but that won’t stop the investigation either.

After February 2016: Justice Department officials allegedly tell FBI agents investigating the Clinton Foundation to “stand down,” to no effect.

The Wall Street Journal Logo (Credit: public domain)

The Wall Street Journal Logo (Credit: public domain)

In February 2016, there is a key meeting between the FBI and Justice Department to determine the fate and direction of the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation. The FBI wanted more investigative power to intensify their investigation, but the Justice Department refused to give it, claiming their case is weak.

The Wall Street Journal will later report that after this meeting, “Justice Department officials became increasingly frustrated that the [FBI] agents seemed to be disregarding or disobeying their instructions. Following the February meeting, officials at Justice Department headquarters sent a message to all the offices involved to ‘stand down,’ a person familiar with the matter said.”

The Journal will explain that this means to “proceed more overtly” and “act discreetly,” due to the sensitivities of conducting an investigation into the foundation closely linked to Hillary Clinton, who is a major Democratic candidate in the 2016 presidential election, while the election is in full swing.

However, the investigation will continue as before, though still without the additional powers only the Justice Department can grant. (The Wall Street Journal, 11/2/2016)

February 2016—Early November 2016: It is alleged that a US attorney has increased tensions between the FBI and Justice Department over the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation.

On November 2, 2016, the Wall Street Journal will report, “Starting in February [2016] and continuing today, investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and public-corruption prosecutors [at the Justice Department] became increasingly frustrated with each other, as often happens within and between departments. At the center of the tension stood [the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York], Robert Capers, who some at the FBI came to view as exacerbating the problems by telling each side what it wanted to hear…”

Robert Capers (Credit: public domain)

Robert Capers (Credit: public domain)

In February 2016, there is a key meeting in which FBI investigators presented their evidence to Justice Department officials, hoping to be granted additional powers so they could conduct a more vigorous investigation. But the department officials turned them down, claiming that their case was weak.

The stances in the FBI and Justice Department would essentially remain unchanged through late October 2016, when the conflict would erupt into public view due to a series of leaks.

The Journal will report, “At times, people on both sides of the dispute thought Mr. Capers agreed with them. Defenders of Mr. Capers said he was straightforward and always told people he thought the case wasn’t strong. … In subsequent conversations with the Justice Department, Mr. Capers told officials in Washington that the FBI agents on the case ‘won’t let it go…'”

However, Capers is not the only official singled out for blame in public leaks. The Journal will also report that “some have blamed the FBI’s No. 2 official, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, claiming he sought to stop agents from pursuing the case this summer. His defenders deny that, and say it was the Justice Department that kept pushing back on the investigation.” McCabe has been criticized for a conflict of interest that could make him biased in favor of the foundation, but he has refused to recuse himself from the foundation investigation.

In August 2016, the FBI and Justice Department agree to delay major decisions in the investigation until after the presidential election on November 8, 2016. However, multiple leaks to the media show that tensions remain high in the conflict. (The Wall Street Journal, 11/2/2016)

March 9, 2016: Attorney General Lynch shows no interest in the Clinton Foundation’s foreign donors.

Senator Thom Tillis (Credit: NC Political News)

Senator Thom Tillis (Credit: NC Political News)

Senator Thom Tillis (R) asks Attorney General Loretta Lynch if the Justice Department is looking into whether Bill and/or Hillary Clinton took funds from foreign governments while Hillary served as secretary of state. Presumably this refers to the Clinton Foundation, which accepted millions of dollars from foreign governments during that time. Lynch replies, “I’m not aware of any other issue along the lines of what you have outlined.” (Politico, 3/9/2016)

March 23, 2016: A Congressperson calls the Clinton Foundation a “sham” charity.

Representative Marsha Blackburn (Credit: MSNBC)

Representative Marsha Blackburn (Credit: MSNBC)

Representative Marsha Blackburn (R) sends a letter to the FTC [Federal Trade Commission], asking it to investigate the Clinton Foundation’s nonprofit status. “The FTC has a history of investigating ‘sham’ charities for false and deceptive statements and should initiate a review of the foundation. […] Consistent with the FTC’s mission and precedent, we request that you review [my] allegations to determine if the Foundation is a ‘sham’ charity.” (The Seaton Post, 3/23/2016)

March 30, 2016: Clinton says the Clinton Foundation will continue if she is elected president.

Clinton on the Rachel Maddow Show on March 30, 2016. (Credit: MSNBC)

Clinton on the Rachel Maddow Show on March 30, 2016. (Credit: MSNBC)

Clinton is interviewed by MSNBC political commentator Rachel Maddow. Maddow asks her, “I think it is not unreasonable to suspect that people may give donations to the Clinton Foundation hoping that they will favorably influence your opinion toward them, as a presidential candidate, or eventually as president if you’re elected. […] Is there a case to be made, an ethical case to be made that the Clinton Foundation and the [Clinton] Global Initiative should essentially be wound down as a family foundation while you run for president?”

Clinton disagrees. She describes the charity work of the foundation in detail, then says: “So, I think the answer is transparency. And there is no doubt that there will be complete transparency about donations.” (Newsweek, 3/30/2016)

Spring 2016: FBI and Justice Department officials consider opening a specific corruption case regarding the Clinton Foundation, but decide not to do so.

160401ClintonMcAuliffePaulJRichardsAFPGetty

Clinton appears with Governor Terry McAuliffe during a campaign rally on February 29, 2016 in Fairfax, Virginia. (Credit: Paul J. Richards / Agence France Presse / Getty Images)

According to CNN in August 2016, some time around the spring of 2016, the FBI receives a notice from a bank of suspicious activity from an unnamed foreigner who had donated to the Clinton Foundation. Three FBI field offices come to an agreement that an investigation regarding this activity should be started. However, during a meeting between the FBI and the Justice Department, it is decided not to pursue an investigation. According to CNN, Justice officials are concerned the request seems more political than substantive, especially given that Hillary Clinton is running for president at the time, and they are against opening an investigation, so it is not pursued.

However, at least one other Clinton Foundation investigation raised at that same meeting does continue – an FBI investigation into Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) and his ties to a Clinton Foundation donor. (CNN, 8/11/2016)

April 6, 2016: Best-selling political author Naomi Klein criticizes the Clinton Foundation.

Naomi Klein (Credit: Kourosh Keshir

Naomi Klein (Credit: Kourosh Keshir

In an article for the Nation, she writes, “The mission of the Clinton Foundation can be distilled as follows: There is so much private wealth sloshing around our planet…that every single problem on earth, no matter how large, can be solved by convincing the ultra-rich to do the right things with their loose change. […] The problem with Clinton World is structural. It’s the way in which these profoundly enmeshed relationships—lubricated by the exchange of money, favors, status, and media attention—shape what gets proposed as policy in the first place. In Clinton World, it’s always win-win-win: The governments look effective, the corporations look righteous, and the celebrities look serious. Oh, and another win too: the Clintons grow ever more powerful. At the center of it all is the canonical belief that change comes not by confronting the wealthy and powerful but by partnering with them. Viewed from within the logic of what Thomas Frank recently termed ‘the land of money,’ all of Hillary Clinton’s most controversial actions make sense. Why not take money from fossil-fuel lobbyists? Why not get paid hundreds of thousands for speeches to Goldman Sachs? It’s not a conflict of interest; it’s a mutually beneficial partnership—part of a never-ending merry-go-round of corporate-political give and take.” (The Nation, 4/6/2016)

April 8, 2016: Sanders says he doesn’t criticize the Clinton Foundation or Clinton’s emails to avoid personal attacks.

In a CNN interview, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says that he is constantly asked by supporters why he doesn’t criticize Clinton more over the Clinton Foundation or the FBI’s Clinton investigation. “How often have I talked about Hillary Clinton’s emails? Have you heard me? Not a word. How often have I talked about the Clinton Foundation’s fundraising? Have you heard me say one word about it during the campaign? I am trying to stay away from personal attacks on Hillary.” (Real Clear Politics, 4/8/2016)

April 26, 2016: The Associated Press reports: “Most companies and groups that paid Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to speak between 2013 and 2015 have lobbied federal agencies in recent years, and more than one-third are government contractors…”

Lawrence Noble (Credit: The Associated Press)

Lawrence Noble (Credit: The Associated Press)

Clinton was paid a total of $22 million for 94 speeches by 82 different firms and organizations in the time between the end of her secretary of state tenure in February 2013 and the official start of her 2016 presidential campaign in April 2015. At least 60 firms and organizations that paid for her speeches lobbied the Obama administration at some point, at least 30 profited from government contracts, and at least 22 had business before the State Department while Clinton was secretary of state.

Lawrence Noble, of the election watchdog group Campaign Legal Center, says, “The problem is whether all these interests who paid her to appear before them will expect to have special access when they have an issue before the government.”

Together, trade association lobbying groups and the financial sector paid a total of $11 million of her speeches, about half of the total during that two-year time period. (The Associated Press, 8/21/2016)

April 27, 2016: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says if Clinton faces Donald Trump in the general election, Trump will attack her about the Clinton Foundation and her email scandal.

“The Republican party will have dozens of opposition researchers. They don’t need my speeches to talk about Hillary Clinton. They will go after Hillary Clinton in ways that I have never, ever gone after Hillary Clinton. Things like the Clinton Foundation or things like the e-mail situation. I don’t talk about that. I have never talked about it one word on this campaign. I suspect very much that Donald Trump and the Republican party will go after her in many, many ways that we have not.” (Real Clear Politics, 4/27/2016)

May 13, 2016: Trump doubts that the Clinton Foundation is a real charity.

New York Post front page on May 13, 2016, with photos of Bill Clinton and Julie Tauber McMahon. (Credit: New York Post)

New York Post front page on May 13, 2016, with photos of Bill Clinton and Julie Tauber McMahon. (Credit: New York Post)

When asked about the Clinton Foundation, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says, “I assume you put the word charity in quotes.” His comment comes one day after the Wall Street Journal reported that the foundation-connected Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) may have benefitted a for-profit company partially owned by Julie Tauber McMahon.

Furthermore, there have been tabloid accusations that Bill Clinton and McMahon had a long-time romance despite his marriage to Hillary Clinton. Trump says of the story, “Well, it is a bombshell, there’s no doubt about it.” He also says people have been whispering about Bill Clinton’s romantic involvement with McMahon “for years,” but “I have no idea what went on.”

Real Clear Politics reporter Rebecca Berg comments, “It plays right into this narrative that [Trump] is trying to build that Hillary Clinton is crooked, that she’s corrupt, and Donald Trump we saw in the primary used this specter of public corruption very effectively.” (CNN, 5/13/2016) (The Wall Street Journal, 5/12/2016(The Daily Mail, 7/25/2014) (The New York Post, 5/13/2016)

May 22, 2016: Ethics experts suggest the Clintons should cut their ties with the Clinton Foundation if Hillary is elected president.

Stephen Gillers (Credit: New York University)

Stephen Gillers (Credit: New York University)

The New York Times reports that Bill and Hillary Clinton have indicated their relationship with the Clinton Foundation would remain basically unchanged if Hillary becomes the next president. However: “Ethics experts reject that answer. They say there wouldn’t be any way to avoid the appearance of conflicts if she wins the presidency.”

Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics expert at New York University School of Law, says, “If Bill seeks to raise large sums of money from donors who also have an interest in US policy, the public will rightly question whether the grants affected United States foreign policy.” He adds that ethics rules are “not merely to prevent bad behavior but to foster public trust in the integrity of government choices.”

Joel Fleishman, who ran a foundation and wrote a book on philanthropy, says the Clintons should “sever the relationship [with the foundation] completely and put it in the hands of independent trustees.” They also should pick a leader of “impeccable integrity and let it go its own way in raising money.” (The New York Times, 5/22/2016)

May 23, 2016: The FBI is investigating the governor of Virginia, including his time as a board member of the CGI.

Governor Terry McAuliffe (Credit: public domain)

Governor Terry McAuliffe (Credit: public domain)

CNN reports, “Virginia Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and prosecutors from the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, US officials briefed on the probe say. […] [I]nvestigators have scrutinized McAuliffe’s time as a board member of the Clinton Global Initiative [CGI],” a yearly conference run by the Clinton Foundation. There is no allegation that the foundation did anything wrong.

The investigation is particularly focused on a $120,000 donation by Wang Wenliang through his US businesses to McAuliffe’s campaign for governor. Wang is a Chinese citizen and used to be a delegate to China’s National People’s Congress. However, he holds permanent resident status in the US, and is therefore eligible to donate to political campaigns, so it’s not clear what the alleged wrongdoing is. Wang has also given $2 million to the Clinton Foundation, as well as other major donations to other US-based charities. (CNN, 5/23/2016)

June 5, 2016: Sanders criticizes the Clinton Foundation.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is asked in an interview about the Clinton Foundation. He says, “If you ask me about the Clinton Foundation, do I have a problem when a sitting secretary of state and a foundation run by her husband collects many millions of dollars from foreign governments, many governments which are dictatorships? Yeah I do.” He points out the human rights violations of governments that have heavily donated to the foundation, such as Saudi Arabia. When asked if the foundation’s activities represent a potential conflict of interest, Sanders replies, “Yes, I do.” (Real Clear Politics, 6/5/2016)

Sanders had previously avoided criticizing the foundation. (Real Clear Politics, 4/8/2016)

June 8, 2016: Clinton claims the Clinton Foundation only made “one or two” disclosure mistakes.

Clinton interviewed by Anderson Cooper on June 8, 2016. (Credit: CNN)

Clinton interviewed by Anderson Cooper on June 8, 2016. (Credit: CNN)

CNN journalist Anderson Cooper asks Clinton, “[Republican presidential candidate Donald] Trump has said he is clearly going to focus on the Clinton Foundation. Last night he said the Russians, Saudis, Chinese all gave money to the foundation and got favorable treatment in return. The foundation has raised huge sums of money for worthy causes; it’s always not been transparent though. Tens of millions of dollars come from a Canadian partnership so that the donors could remain secret, [and] there was a large donation from Algeria not submitted to State Department for approval. If you are president, will your husband divest himself of any association with the foundation?”

Clinton replies, “We will cross that bridge if and when we come to it. Let me just try to set the record straight. We had absolutely overwhelming disclosure. Were there one or two instances that slipped through the cracks? Yes. But was the overwhelming amount of anything that anybody gave the foundation disclosed? Absolutely.”

When Cooper presses if Bill Clinton would step down from the foundation if Hillary is elected president, Hillary replies, “Again, I’m not going to consider anything until we see what the circumstances are.” (Real Clear Politics, 6/8/2016)

June 21, 2016: The Clinton Foundation’s computer network was recently successfully hacked by alleged Russian hackers.

Bloomberg News reports this is according to three unnamed “people familiar with the matter.” Clinton Foundation officials say they haven’t been notified of the attack and refuse to say more. The breach was discovered as recently as one week earlier.

The attack appears to be part of a larger sweep of attacks that has targeted at least 4,000 email accounts of people connected to US politics since about October 2015. Many of the targets appear to be linked to Clinton.

Bloomberg News comments, “The thefts set the stage for what could be a Washington remake of the public shaming that shook Sony in 2014, when thousands of inflammatory internal emails filled with gossip about world leaders and Hollywood stars were made public.”

Someone going by the nickname “Guccifer 2.0” has been releasing documents from a hack on the DNC [Democratic National Committee] but it is unknown if this person is linked to the foundation attack. (Bloomberg News, 6/21/2016)

June 23, 2016: The State Department is accused of dragging out the release of emails related to the Clinton Foundation.

Oscar Flores (Credit: public domain)

Oscar Flores (Credit: public domain)

In a court filing, the conservative watchdog group Citizens United asks a judge to order the State Department to speed up the release of emails between the department and four Clinton Foundation officials, namely: Chelsea Clinton (the daughter of Bill and Hillary), Amitabh Desai (the foundation’s director of foreign policy), and Justin Cooper and Oscar Flores, two Bill Clinton aides who also have worked for the foundation.

A judge has ordered the department to release emails in monthly batches, due to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Citizens United. But the department has only released 17 emails in its first two monthly batches, despite saying it has found nearly 4,000 emails that match the request.

Citizens United wants the emails released before the November 2016 general election, but they say that at the current pace, it would take 38 years for the department to release them all. (The Free Beacon, 6/23/2016)

June 24, 2016: Clinton’s official calendar omits dozens of meetings with donors and other outside interests.

A sample of a meeting with donors and loyalists that were omitted from Clinton’s official calendar. (Credit: The Associated Press)

In August 2013, the Associated Press (AP) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Clinton’s calendar and schedules from the State Department. After years of delays and denials, AP recently got about one-third of Clinton’s planning schedules from when she was secretary of state, and will be getting more.

A comparison of the planning schedules with Clinton’s 1,500-page official calendar shows “at least 75 meetings with longtime political donors, Clinton Foundation contributors, and corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded,” or for which the names of those she met were omitted. At least 114 outsiders attended these meetings. Only seven meetings were replaced on the calendar by other events, while more than sixty meetings were either omitted entirely or described briefly as “private meetings” without mention of who attended. The missing meetings involve “private dinners and meetings with political donors, policy sessions with groups of corporate leaders, and ‘drop-bys’ with old Clinton campaign hands and advisers.”

For instance, meetings with controversial Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal are not mentioned, nor are meetings with billionaire Haim Saban, a major donor to Clinton’s political campaigns who also has given at least $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. A Clinton spokesperson says this merely shows that some records are more detailed than others. But AP points out that on the same days the names of donors Clinton meets with are omitted, the names of all the participants in other meetings are given.

Five former State Department logistics officials say that some previous secretaries of state omitted some details from their official calendars, but only for special occasions, such as medical appointments, and not meetings with donors or political interests. It is not known who edited Clinton’s official calendar. It also does not appear any federal laws were broken, although there are department rules against altering or deleting information.

Danielle Brian, executive director of the nonpartisan watchdog group the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), comments: “It’s clear that any outside influence needs to be clearly identified in some way to at least guarantee transparency. That didn’t happen. These discrepancies are striking because of her possible interest at the time in running for the presidency.” (The Associated Press, 6/24/2016)

June 28, 2016: A federal judge accuses the State Department of running out the clock on a FOIA lawsuit to politically protect Clinton.

US District Judge Richard Leon (Credit: public domain)

US District Judge Richard Leon (Credit: public domain)

In 2010, military contractor BAE Systems pled guilty to violating US arms export control laws and regulations, and paid a $400 million fine to the US government. Then in 2011, it settled a civil suit on the same issue, paying an additional $69 million fine, but maintaining the right to receive US government contracts and export licenses. In August 2013, the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to learn more about what many call a “sweetheart deal,” and Clinton’s possible role in it as secretary of state. In March 2015, that turned into a FOIA lawsuit after the State Department only turned over three documents out of 13,000 pages responsive to the request.

On June 28, 2016, US District Court Judge Richard Leon says that the department’s recent assertion that it will take until mid-October 2016 to hand over the document is a non-starter due to the proximity to the November 8, 2016 general election. He says: “This case has been dragging on for a long time […] We’re now reaching a point of mounting frustration that this is a project where State is running out the clock. There’s no way I’m ever going to grant you an extension to mid-October because that would effectively run out the clock.” Leon wants to not only get the documents released before the election, but also to have them released by early September 2016 so there is time to litigate whether the department’s redactions are legally justified. He openly threatens penalties on the State Department and other departments if they don’t speed up working together to release the documents. (Politico, 6/28/2016)

 

June 28, 2016: Huma Abedin admits she worked on “Clinton family matters” while she was working at the State Department.

During the deposition of Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin by Judicial Watch, she is asked if she used her private email account hosted on Clinton’s clintonemail.com private server for any State Department work.

160627HumaAbedinDavidMcGlynn

Huma Abedin (Credit: David McGlynn)

Abedin responds, “My practice was to use my state.gov email. I did the vast majority of my work on state.gov, at my computer and on my BlackBerry when we traveled. And I used Clinton email for just about everything else. I used that for the Clinton family matters and, frankly, I used it for my own personal e-mail, as well.”

She is pressed, “But you also used it at times for state-related matters?”

She replies, “Yes. There were occasions when I did do that, correct.”

She is then asked, “And were there occasions when you used that with Secretary Clinton, where both of you used only the clintonemail.com accounts?”

Abedin replies, “There were occasions when that occurred, yes.” (Judicial Watch, 6/29/2016)

Unfortunately, Abedin is not asked what she means by working on “Clinton family matters,” and if that included Clinton Foundation matters.

June 29, 2016: The State Department wants to delay the release of emails between Clinton’s former aides and the Clinton Foundation until well after the 2016 presidential election.

Melanne Verveer (left) (Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs,Michael Fuchs (right) (Credit: Center for American Progress)

Former Ambassador-at-Large Melanne Verveer (left) (Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Michael Fuchs (right) (Credit: Center for American Progress)

Conservative group Citizens United has a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking emails that former State Department officials Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, Ambassador-at-Large Melanne Verveer, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Michael Fuchs exchanged with employees of the Clinton Foundation or Teneo Consulting, a company closely tied to the Clintons. The court has ordered the emails to be released by July 21, 2016.

However, Justice Department lawyers acting on behalf of the State Department ask US District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras for an extension until October 2018 – more than two years. The State Department says they thought in March 2016 that there were only 6,000 pages of emails to process. But an error was discovered and they now believe there are more than 14,000 pages. The department also complains they are falling behind responding to FOIA requests and lawsuits in general.

Citizens United president David Bossie says, “This is totally unacceptable; the State Department is using taxpayer dollars to protect their candidate Hillary Clinton. The American people have a right to see these emails before the [November 2016 presidential] election. […] The conflicts of interest that were made possible by the activities of Hillary Clinton’s State Department in tandem with the Clinton Foundation are of significant importance to the public and the law enforcement community.” (Politico, 6/29/2016)

 

July 7, 2016: FBI Director James Comey refuses to say whether the Clinton Foundation is being investigated.

160707ClintonFoundationMichaelLocosanoGetty

Bill and Hillary Clinton attend an open plenary session for the Clinton Global Initiative on September 22, 2014. (Credit: John Moore / Getty Images)

In a Congressional hearing, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R) asks Comey: “Did you look at the Clinton Foundation?”

Comey replies, “I’m not going to comment on the existence or nonexistence of any other investigations.”

Chaffetz then asks, “Was the Clinton Foundation tied into this investigation?”

Comey responds, “Yeah, I’m not going to answer that.” (CNN, 7/7/2016)

It has previously been reported by Fox News in January 2016 that the Clinton Foundation is being investigated by the FBI, but that hasn’t been officially confirmed. An unnamed “FBI source” also told the Daily Mail in April 2016 that the FBI is conducting an investigation of the Clinton Foundation separate from its Clinton email investigation. (The Daily Mail, 7/7/2016)

In October 2016, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post will report that there actually is an FBI investigation and it has been in existence since at least 2015, but it has been hobbled by a lack of support from the Justice Department.

Mid-July 2016: The FBI reorganizes its Clinton Foundation investigation, despite the involvement of an FBI official with a potential conflict of interest.

On July 5, 2016, FBI Director James Comey announced that he would not recommend indicting anyone targeted in the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. That effectively closed the investigation. The FBI still has an ongoing investigation in the Clinton Foundation, with four FBI field offices taking part.

Andrew McCabe (Credit: public domain)

Andrew McCabe (Credit: public domain)

About one week after Comey’s announcement, the FBI seeks to refocus the Clinton Foundation investigation. Andrew McCabe is the associate deputy FBI director at the time, the number three position in the FBI, but by the end of the month he is promoted to deputy FBI director, the number two position. McCabe decides the FBI’s New York office will take the lead, with assistance from the Little Rock, Arkansas office.

The Washington field office will instead focus on an investigation involving Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D). McAuliffe was a Clinton Foundation board member until he became governor in 2013, and some media reports indicate the investigation concerns a Chinese businessperson who donated millions of dollars to the foundation. McCabe recused himself from the McAuliffe investigation because political organizations linked to McAuliffe donated over $700,000 to the state senate election campaign of McCabe’s wife in 2015. However, McCabe does not recuse himself from the Clinton Foundation investigation.

According to the Journal, “Within the FBI, the decision was viewed with skepticism by some, who felt the probe would be stronger if the foundation and McAuliffe matters were combined. Others, particularly Justice Department anti-corruption prosecutors, felt that both probes were weak, based largely on publicly available information, and had found little that would merit expanded investigative authority.”

The Justice Department previously declined to empanel a grand jury for the foundation investigation, and still doesn’t give it the additional investigative powers that would come with grand jury backing. (The Wall Street Journal, 10/30/2016)

CNN will add that as part of the reorganization, agents in the Los Angeles, Little Rock, and Washington, DC. field offices, are told to turn over their files to the FBI New York office. “Agents were told to continue their work. But the order to the other field offices angered agents there.”

Additionally, during this meeting or in subsequent meetings over the next month, the New York office is told not to take any major steps in the investigation until after the US presidential election on November 8, 2016. CNN will report that “some agents [in New York] chafed at the decision that they had to sit and wait until after the election.” (CNN, 11/2/2016)

Mid-July 2016—August 2016: FBI and Justice Department officials agree to wait until after the 2016 presidential election to decide the next steps in the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation.

According to a November 2016 New York Times article, senior FBI and Justice Department officials have a series of meetings over what to do regarding the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation, which has been in existence since the summer of 2015, but lacks the grand jury authority that would give it subpoena power. The Times will report, “The investigation, based in New York, had not developed much evidence and was based mostly on information that had surfaced in news stories and the book ‘Clinton Cash,’ according to several law enforcement officials briefed on the case.”

These officials “agreed that making the Clinton Foundation investigation public could influence the presidential race and suggest they were favoring [Republican presidential nominee Donald] Trump. But waiting, they acknowledged, could open them up to criticism from Republicans, who were demanding an investigation. They agreed to keep the case open but wait until after the election to determine their next steps. The move infuriated some agents, who thought that the FBI’s leaders were reining them in because of politics.” (The New York Times, 11/1/2016)

A CNN article published shortly after the Times article will quote an unnamed law enforcement official familiar with the meetings as saying, “It’s just a (message of) ‘hold right now until after the elections — no subpoenas issued, no interviews.'” Although the Times says the meetings happen in August 2016, CNN says the decision to wait is made in a mid-July 2016 meeting. (CNN, 11/2/2016)

During this time frame, on August 12, 2016, a Justice Department official unsuccessfully attempts to shut down the investigation.

August 1, 2016: An author says the FBI is investigating the Clinton Foundation, which he knows from his own FBI interviews.

Peter Schweizer appears on Sean Hannity’s show on August 1, 2016. (Credit: Fox News)

Peter Schweizer, the conservative author of the 2015 book Clinton Cash that is highly critical of the Clinton Foundation, is interviewed by Fox News journalist Sean Hannity. He says, “I can’t go into detail. But I can tell you on personal experience that I know the FBI is investigating the Clinton Foundation.”

Hannity asks, “They’re doing it now? They’re doing it today? Have they questioned you, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Schweizer responds, “I’d rather not talk about that, but they are doing it at present.” (LawNewz, 8/2/2016)

At the time, the existence of the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation has rarely been confirmed by the mainstream media. However, in late October 2016, it will be reported by multiple media outlets that the investigation exists and that Schweizer has been interviewed by FBI agents more than once. (The Wall Street Journal, 11/2/2016)

On November 3, 2016, he will say that he has been interviewed by the FBI multiple, but not since February 2016. He also will say, “As much as I’d like to say [my] book is the entire case, that is not the case. That’s certainly how the Clinton team is going to represent it. But they have done a lot of legwork, as you would expect the FBI to do.” (Fox News, 11/3/2016)

August 8, 2016: A Donald Trump confidant claims to be in contact with the head of WikiLeaks and predicts a future release of Clinton Foundation material.

Stone gives a speech to the speech to the Southwest Broward Republican Organization on August 8, 2016. (Credit: Nydia B. Stone)

Stone gives a speech to the Southwest Broward Republican Organization on August 8, 2016. (Credit: Nydia B. Stone)

In a public appearance, Republican strategist Roger Stone is asked to predict what “October surprise” Wikileaks leader Julian Assange may reveal about Clinton that could influence the November 2016 presidential election. WikiLeaks released a batch of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in July 2016 and hinted at more releases to come.

Stone replies, “Well, it could be any number of things. I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation, but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.”

Stone was an official consultant to the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump until August 2015, and has remains a prominent surrogate and confidant for Trump. (Talkingpointsmemo.com, 8/7/2016)

However, Stone’s prediction will be proven wrong when WikiLeaks begins posting thousands of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s private emails on October 7, 2016. But Stone will post a Tweet on August 21, 2016 that may have predicted that.

August 11, 2016: Ethics experts say recently released emails indicate the spirit of Clinton’s pledges to keep the interests of the State Department and the Clinton Foundation was violated.

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Gilbert Chagoury (left) and Bill Clinton (right) attend a 2005 Pride of Heritage Banquet event in Beverly Hills, California. (Credit: ABC News)

Recently released Huma Abedin emails, from the time she was deputy chief of staff to Clinton, are widely reported in the mainstream media due to some emails that suggest possible conflicts of interest between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. For instance, in an April 2009 email exchange between Clinton Foundation executive Douglas Band and Abedin, Band sought urgent access for Gilbert Chagoury, a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire who donated between $1 million and $5 million to the foundation and pledged an additional $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).

On January 5, 2009, just prior to becoming secretary of state, Clinton wrote in a formal letter to a State Department ethics official: “For the duration of my appointment as Secretary if I am confirmed, I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter involving specific parties in which The William J. Clinton Foundation (or the Clinton Global Initiative) is a party or represents a party, unless I am first authorized to participate.” Additionally, a December 2008 memo of understanding was signed between the Obama administration and the Clinton Foundation that also limited how Clinton and her staff could interact with the foundation to avoid conflict of interest problems.

Politico reports that the emails between Abedin and Band regarding Chagoury “is the latest in a succession of emails suggesting Clinton staffers violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the ethics agreement Clinton had signed just months earlier.” “Several ethicists” agree that the emails suggest violations of Clinton’s ethics agreements.

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Meredith McGehee (Credit: Twitter)

Meredith McGehee, policy director for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, says that the actual language of the pledge is “not surprisingly, very lawyerly … [and] there is an argument to be made that Clinton herself has not violated what was in the pledge.” But she adds, “Whether she or her aides have violated the spirit of the pledge … yeah, of course they have. The notion of continuing contact between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department — that was not supposed to happen.”

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Craig Holman (Credit: public domain)

Craig Holman, who works for Public Citizen, a non-profit, consumer rights advocacy group, says: “The Clinton Foundation was taking money from anybody who would give it, and the biggest contributions were from people who had business before the State Department. They didn’t follow the pledge. … I don’t think anyone in the foundation sought to deliberately violate the pledge, I just don’t think they cared about it.” (Politico, 8/11/2016)

August 11, 2016: According the Daily Caller, the FBI is pursuing multiple investigations regarding possible corruption related to the Clinton Foundation.

Additionally, various US Attorney offices in different states are giving assistance. This is according to an unnamed “former official who has direct knowledge” of the investigations. The main investigation is said to be based in New York, which is where the Clinton Foundation is headquartered.

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Preet Bharara, US attorney for the Southern District of New York. (Credit: R. Umar Abbasi / Wire Image)

This is being led by Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York. The source says that Bharara and his office “would be seen by [FBI] agents as a positive development, as prosecutors there are generally thought to be more aggressive than the career lawyers within the [Justice Department].” The office has specialized in large-scale, sophisticated financial frauds. By contrast, the FBI investigation of Clinton’s private email server while she was secretary of state was conducted by FBI headquarters without the involvement of state US Attorneys. (The Daily Caller, 8/11/2016)

It is known that one FBI investigation regarding the Clinton Foundation relates to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) and his ties to a Clinton Foundation donor. The Daily Caller report comes hours after an CNN report talking about a failed attempt to start a different Clinton Foundation-related investigation, and makes clear that is not what they are referring to. (CNN, 8/11/2016)

In October 2016, the Wall Street Journal will confirm the existence of an FBI Clinton Foundation investigation, which has been on-going since 2015.

August 11, 2016: The State Department fails to answer questions about a possible conflict of interest involving the Clinton Foundation and Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills in June 2012.

In January 2016, Senator Charles Grassley (R), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, asking about Cheryl Mills’ role in picking the next head of the Clinton Foundation by interviewing two candidates for that position on June 20, 2012. At the time, Mills was Clinton’s chief of staff in the State Department, and Clinton had vowed not to allow any action that even created the appearance of a conflict of interest between Clinton’s management of the State Department and the Clinton Foundation.

However, on August 11, 2016, CNN reports that Grassley still has received no official reply from the State Department.

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Scott Amey (Credit: public domain)

Scott Amey, an attorney for the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), says, “Congress has a rightful right to ask for any information that it wants to from the executive branch of government to keep track of them. And the government should be turning that information over. When you have a breakdown in that system, we have a breakdown in our democracy.”

CNN also asks the State Department if Mills had or needed permission from the department for the trip, or if anyone from the department was even aware of what she was doing. A department spokesperson doesn’t directly answer the question, except to say that Mills had the right to do what she wanted on her own time if it was strictly voluntary in nature. (CNN, 8/11/2016)

August 12, 2016: A Justice Department official allegedly attempts to shut down the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation, but it continues.

Since 2015 or earlier, multiple FBI field offices have been involved in an investigation of the Clinton Foundation. However, in February 2016, the FBI appealed to the Justice Department for additional investigative powers, such as having a grand jury empaneled to gain subpoena power, but the department said no. The investigation continued anyway, without the additional powers the department can give.

Andrew McCabe, left, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, listen during a news conference, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (Credit: Jacquelyn Martin / The Associated Press)

Andrew McCabe, left, and Loretta Lynch, listen during a news conference, July 20, 2016. (Credit: Jacquelyn Martin / The Associated Press)

In October 2016, the Wall Street Journal will report that on August 12, 2016, an unnamed senior Justice Department official calls Andrew McCabe (who was promoted to deputy FBI director one month earlier) to voice his displeasure at finding that New York FBI agents are still openly pursuing the Clinton Foundation investigation during the election season, with Hillary Clinton being one of the major candidates.

McCabe allegedly replies that FBI agents still have the authority to pursue the issue as long as they don’t use methods requiring Justice Department approvals.

The Journal will report, “The Justice Department official was ‘very pissed off,’ according to one person close to Mr. McCabe, and pressed him to explain why the FBI was still chasing a matter the department considered dormant. Others said the Justice Department was simply trying to make sure FBI agents were following longstanding policy not to make overt investigative moves that could be seen as trying to influence an election. Those rules discourage investigators from making any such moves before a primary or general election, and, at a minimum, checking with anti-corruption prosecutors before doing so.”

McCabe allegedly asks the department official, “Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?”

After a pause, the official allegedly replies, “Of course not.”

The Journal will further report, “For Mr. McCabe’s defenders, the exchange showed how he was stuck between an FBI office eager to pour more resources into a case and Justice Department prosecutors who didn’t think much of the case, one person said. Those people said that following the call, Mr. McCabe reiterated past instructions to FBI agents that they were to keep pursuing the work within the authority they had.”

But according to “others further down the FBI chain of command,” FBI agents “were given a much starker instruction on the case: ‘Stand down.’ When agents questioned why they weren’t allowed to take more aggressive steps, they said they were told the order had come from the deputy director—Mr. McCabe. Others familiar with the matter deny Mr. McCabe or any other senior FBI official gave such a stand-down instruction.”

According to the Journal, some agents within the FBI believe that McCabe and other FBI leaders weren’t defending the investigation strongly enough, while others believe that McCabe’s behavior was correct. Either way, the investigation continues, but still without that subpoena power that can only come from Justice Department support. (The Wall Street Journal, 10/30/2016)

McCabe has a conflict of interest with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who in turn is being investigated by the FBI for activities that could involve the Clinton Foundation.

August 16, 2016: The Boston Globe argues that the Clinton Foundation should be entirely shut down if Clinton is elected president.

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The Boston Globe Logo (Credit: public domain)

The Boston Globe‘s editorial board writes an editorial entitled: “Clinton Foundation should stop accepting funds.” The Globe opines: “Since its founding, the foundation has supported relief in Haiti, global health, and other good causes. It also provided posts or paychecks for some members of the Clinton political team, like Cheryl Mills, Douglas Band, and Huma Abedin, and afforded the former president a platform and travel budget. Many of the foundation’s donations come from overseas, including from foreign governments with troubling human rights records.”

The editorial concludes: “Winding down the foundation, and transferring its assets to some other established charity, doesn’t have to hurt charitable efforts. If the foundation’s donors are truly motivated by altruism, and not by the lure of access to the Clintons, then surely they can find other ways to support the foundation’s goals.  … The Clintons should move now to end donations to the foundation, and make plans to shut it down in November. Even if they’ve done nothing illegal, the foundation will always look too much like a conflict of interest for comfort.” (The Boston Globe, 8/16/2016)

Two days later, the foundation will announce some changes, including refusing all foreign donations if Clinton is elected, but it won’t go nearly as far as this editorial suggests.

August 18, 2016: The Clinton Foundation announces what changes it will make if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

Former President Bill Clinton tells foundation staff what changes the foundation will make to deal with conflict of interest concerns if Hillary is elected president in November 2016:

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Bill Clinton (Credit: Darren McCollester / Getty Images)

  • The foundation will stop accepting donations from any foreign entity or from any corporations or corporate charities. Only US citizens and independent charities will be able to donate.
  • Bill Clinton will resign from the foundation’s board.
  • He will not give any paid speeches until the November 2016 election, and then will not give any paid speeches if Hillary wins the election.
  • He also will stop personally soliciting donations for the foundation.
  • This year’s annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting will be the last one.

All of these changes will occur only if Clinton wins the presidential election, except for the CGI meetings, which will stop even if she loses.

Republicans criticize the changes as insufficient. Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Reince Priebus says the changes are “too little, too late.” He says the foundation “should immediately cease accepting foreign donations and return every penny ever taken from other countries, several of which have atrocious human rights records and ties to terrorism.” He also says the foundation continuing to accept foreign donations during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is a “massive, ongoing conflict of interest that gets bigger by the day.” (The Associated Press, 8/22/2016) (The Los Angeles Times, 8/22/2016)

August 18, 2016: The Clinton Foundation’s computer network may have been recently hacked.

Reuters reports that the foundation has recently hired the cybersecurity company FireEye to investigte and combat hacking after seeing indications of possible hacking. This is according to two unnamed “sources familiar with the matter.”

No stolen emails or documents from the foundation have been made public so far. However, one of the sources plus two unnamed US security officials say that hackers appear to have used “spear phishing” techniques to gain access to the foundation’s network, in the same way they’ve hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other political targets. (Reuters, 8/18/2016)

August 18, 2016: The Clinton Foundation claims its computers have not been hacked.

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Logo of FireEye (Credit: public domain)

Earlier in the day, Reuters reported from several sources that it is likely the Clinton Foundation’s computer network has been recently hacked. But the foundation says, “We have no evidence Clinton Foundation systems were breached and have not been notified by law enforcement of an issue.”

Reuters also reported the foundation recently hired the cybersecurity company FireEye to combat hacking. The foundation has not responded to this. (Politico, 8/18/2016)

August 23, 2016: USA Today’s editorial board advocates closing the Clinton Foundation if Clinton is elected president.

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USA Today Logo (Credit: USA Today)

An editorial entitled “Mothball the Clinton Foundation” is published several days after the foundation laid out steps the foundation will take to avoid conflicts of interest.

The editorial says, “The plans range from the laughable to the laudable, and they are woefully incomplete. … Ending foreign and corporate contributions is a good step, but allowing them to continue at least through the first week of November looks more like an influence-peddling fire sale (Give while you still can!) than a newfound commitment to clean government. And the complex plan for allowing donations from US citizens and permanent residents, keeping some parts of the Clinton Foundation alive, and maintaining scores of Clinton-family allies on the payroll is less an opportunity for a clean slate than a guarantee of new controversy.”

The editorial concludes: “the only way to eliminate the odor surrounding the foundation is to wind it down and put it in mothballs, starting today, and transfer its important charitable work to another large American charity such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. If Hillary Clinton doesn’t support these steps, she boosts Trump’s farcical presidential campaign and, if she’s elected, opens herself up to the same kind of pay-to-play charges that she was subject to as secretary of state.” (USA Today, 8/23/2016)

August 24, 2016: Chelsea Clinton will stay on the Clinton Foundation’s board even if her mother Hillary becomes president.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27: Chelsea Clinton attends the Clinton Global Initiative 2015 Global Citizen Awards at Sheraton Times Square on September 27, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Chelsea Clinton (Credit: Taylor Hill / FilmMagic)

This is according to Clinton Foundation spokesperson Craig Minassian. However, it is unclear if Chelsea would continue to raise money for the foundation. Furthermore, she doesn’t intend to say whether she would raise money for the foundation until after the election. One unnamed person “familiar with the plans” says, “They don’t think it makes sense to decide right now.”

On August 18, 2016, it was reported that former President Bill Clinton will resign from the foundation’s board and stop soliciting donations if his wife Hillary is elected president in November 2016. Neither the Clintons nor the Clinton Foundation has explained why it would be appropriate for Bill to makes those changes due to family ties but Chelsea should not despite her family ties.

Ray Madoff, a Boston College Law School professor and director of the Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good, says, “The Clinton Foundation has been way too inattentive to the appearance of impropriety. Chelsea clearly has access to her parents, so the appearance of impropriety continues.” (The Wall Street Journal, 8/24/2016)

August 24, 2016: Half of the private citizens who met with Clinton while she was secretary of state donated to the Clinton Foundation.

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New York Post cover on August 24, 2016. (Credit: New York Post)

The Associated Press publishes an article based on an analysis of Clinton’s schedule while she was secretary of state. The article begins: “More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money – either personally or through companies or groups – to the Clinton Foundation. It’s an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president. At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to the Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.”

The analysis doesn’t include US or foreign government officials. The Associated Press notes that “Clinton met with representatives of at least 16 foreign governments that donated as much as $170 million to the Clinton charity, but they were not included in AP’s calculations because such meetings would presumably have been part of her diplomatic duties.” Furthermore, three years ago, the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for Clinton’s daily schedules and so far has only received full data for the first two years of Clinton’s four years as secretary of state. Thus, only those two years were analyzed.

The Associated Press comments: “The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton.”

Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon complains that the article is unfair, saying, “It is outrageous to misrepresent Secretary Clinton’s basis for meeting with these individuals.” He also calls it “a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths with individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation.”

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Pictured from left to right Daniel Abraham (Credit: public domain), Muhammad Yunas (Credit: public domain), Stephen Schwarzman (Credit: public domain), Nancy Mahon (Credit: Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images)

The article cites several examples of Clinton Foundation donors whom Clinton met with, including:

  • Daniel Abraham, a billionaire behind the Slim-Fast diet and founder of the Center for Middle East Peace.
  • Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work with microcredit loans for poor business owners. Despite his positive reputation, at the time Clinton met with him, it was known he was under investigation by the Bangladeshi government for diverting tens of millions of donated dollars, and he was ultimately forced to resign from the board of the Grameen Bank, the microcredit bank he had helped found.
  • Stephen Schwarzman, chair of the Blackstone Group.
  • Nancy Mahon, who runs MAC AIDS, the charitable arm of MAC Cosmetics, which is owned by Estee Lauder.

However, the article doesn’t cite any clear examples of unethical behavior. State Department officials say they are not aware of any department actions influenced by the Clinton Foundation. Department spokesperson Mark Toner says there are no prohibitions against department contacts with “political campaigns, nonprofits or foundations – including the Clinton Foundation.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump complains, “Hillary Clinton is totally unfit to hold public office. It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins. It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office.” (The Associated Press, 8/24/2016)

August 26, 2016: Clinton says she is sure that there are no damaging emails and/or Clinton Foundation controversies still to be made public.

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Clinton does a call-in interview with Mika Brzezinski on August 26, 2016. (Credit: MSNBC)

Clinton is asked by MSNBC journalist Mika Brzezinski, “Are you certain that there are no emails or foundation ties to foreign entities that will be revealed that could perhaps permanently impact your presidential prospects?”

Clinton replies, “Mika, I am sure, and I am sure because I have a very strong foundation of understanding about the foundation—not to have a play on words—that the kind of work the foundation has done which attracted donors from around the world is work that went right into providing services to people.” (Politico, 8/26/2016)

August 30, 2016: The New York Times advocates that Bill and Chelsea Clinton should cut all ties to the Clinton Foundation if Hillary wins the presidency, and the foundation should ban all foreign and corporate donations immediately.

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Chelsea, Hillary and Bill Clinton (Credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters)

The New York Times‘ editorial board publishes an editorial entitled “Cutting Ties to the Clinton Foundation.” It doesn’t go as far as a recent USA Today editorial advocating that the Clintons completely cut their ties to the Clinton Foundation if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency in November 2016. However, it argues that the steps the Clintons recently announced to distance themselves from the foundation if Hillary wins are not enough.

The editorial states, “‘Pay-to-play’ charges by [Republican presidential nominee] Donald Trump have not been proved. But [recently released] emails and previous reporting suggest Mr. Trump has reason to say that while Mrs. Clinton was secretary [of state], it was hard to tell where the foundation ended and the State Department began.”

The Times suggests that the foundation should “ban contributions from foreign and corporate entities now. If Mrs. Clinton wins, Bill and Chelsea Clinton should both end their operational involvement in the foundation and its affiliates for the duration of her presidency, relinquishing any control over spending, hiring, and board appointments. … Achieving true distance from the foundation is not only necessary to ensure its effectiveness, it is an ethical imperative for Mrs. Clinton.” (The New York Times, 8/30/2016)

August 30, 2016: More than 50 House Republicans call for a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton’s ties to the Clinton Foundation.

The representatives write a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, urging the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Clinton Foundation donors had unusual access to Hillary Clinton while she served as secretary of State. This comes after an August 24, 2016 Associated Press article that claims over half of all the private citizens Clinton met with in those years donated to the foundation.

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Representative John Ratcliffe (Credit: public domain)

Representative John Ratcliffe (R) spearheads the letter, which cites the evidence in the article, then says, “All of this makes it very unclear where the State Department ended and where the Clinton Foundation began. … The facts as they have been reported surrounding the Clinton Foundation warrant an investigation that is beyond reproach and beyond any appearance of political favoritism. Appointing a special counsel is a necessary step at this juncture.”

The presidential campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump has also been pushing for a special prosecutor in recent days. Prominent Republicans such as vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani have issued similar statements.

Not surprisingly, Clinton and other Democratic politicians reject the need for a special prosecutor. For instance, Representative Adam Schiff (D) says, “There’s no evidence at all of any illegality in terms of Clinton Foundation and the secretary of state’s of work. … The most that has come to surface is that some of the Clinton Foundation supporters also met with the secretary of state, which you would imagine would be the case. So no, that’s not at all the kind of foundation you would want for the extraordinary step of a special investigator [or] prosecutor.” (The Hill, 8/30/2016)

September 2016: The FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation tries but fails to get access to possibly relevant emails found in the Clinton email investigation.

Although the FBI’s Clinton email investigation was closed in July 2016, the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation continues, though it never has had grand jury backing and thus no subpoena power.

 Clinton closes the 10th Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in September, 2014. (Credit: Mark Lennihan / The Associated Press)

Clinton speaks at the 10th Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting in September, 2014. (Credit: Mark Lennihan / The Associated Press)

The email investigation uncovered many thousands of emails on non-government computers belonging to Clinton and some of her aides, and many of these same people had obvious roles with the Clinton Foundation. As a result, sometime in September 2016, Clinton Foundation investigators ask to have access to the emails found in the Clinton email investigation.

But that request is rejected by prosecutors at the Eastern District of New York. According to the Wall Street Journal, “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. Some FBI agents were dissatisfied with that answer, and asked for permission to make a similar request to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to people familiar with the matter.”

However, Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe allegedly tells them no and says they can’t “go prosecutor shopping.”

In early October 2016, a different FBI investigation will find emails belonging to Clinton aide Huma Abedin on a previously unknown computer, leading to a different legal issue about sharing information between various FBI investigations.

It appears the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation still has not been given access to the possibly relevant emails found by the Clinton email investigation. (The Wall Street Journal, 10/30/2016)

September 12, 2016: Bill Clinton claims the Clinton Foundation is more transparent than any other charitable foundation.

Bill Clinton talks to Charlie Rose on September 12, 2016. (Credit: CBS News)

Bill Clinton talks to Charlie Rose on September 12, 2016. (Credit: CBS News)

Former President Bill Clinton is interviewed by CBS News reporter Charlie Rose. He says, “I have said to the best of my knowledge nobody ever got anything from the State Department because they supported the Clinton Foundation. If they did and it was inappropriate, I would say that was wrong too. I have proved that I’m not averse to apologizing for things that I think were wrong. So I am unaware of that.”

He adds, “I believe, first of all, we’ve been as transparent as we can be. And we’ve been more transparent than any other foundation, more transparent than any other foundation has ever been asked to be, and certainly more transparent than anybody else in this line of work is.”

He also says, “Now, if you think nobody should ever call somebody they know and say, ‘Well, so-and-so would like a meeting’—that’s just the way the national government works, so I can’t say anything about that. But I can say to the best of my knowledge … that the people they accused or implied gave money to the foundation just so they could have some in with Hillary did not do that. That’s simply not true.” (CBS News, 9/12/2016)

September 19, 2016: Bill Clinton says that some Clinton Foundation donors expected favors.

Former President Bill Clinton says of the Clinton Foundation in an interview, “Well, since we had more than 300,000 donors, it would be unusual if nobody did [try to get favors]. … Maybe some of them gave money for that reason, but most of them gave it because they liked what we were doing.”

He adds, “It was natural for people who’ve been our political allies and personal friends to call and ask for things. And I trusted the State Department wouldn’t do anything they shouldn’t do, from a meeting to a favor.” (NPR, 9/19/2016)