FBI Launches New Clinton Foundation Inquiry

In some ways this is probably a more productive inquiry than Hillary's email abuses because of the immunity agreements handed out to so many of her associates on the email investigation. There's plenty of material and it's an area where there was an ongoing investigation but without the Comey coverup.

The Justice Department has launched a new inquiry into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in any pay-to-play politics or other illegal activities while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of State, law enforcement officials and a witness tells The Hill.

FBI agents from Little Rock, Ark., where the foundation was started, have taken the lead in the investigation and have interviewed at least one witness in the last month, and law enforcement officials said additional activities are expected in the coming weeks.

The officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the probe is examining whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favors in return for largesse to their charitable efforts or whether donors made commitments of donations in hopes of securing government outcomes.

The probe may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the foundation complied with applicable tax laws, the officials said.

Proving favor trading will be tricky. It's not something anyone is likely to admit to. The FBI would need to flip a high ranking Clinton associate to get a foot in the door. Or a top Clinton donor. And I don't know how good the odds of that are. We know the Clinton Foundation violated certain tax laws. And the personal and political conversion issue is potentially very explosive because the Clinton Foundation was interchangeable with the Clintons and Hillary's campaign. And there were plenty of obvious abuses there.

But while the DOJ and FBI had access to eavesdropped conversations when going after Trump associates, due to Obama's illegal abuse of surveillance authority, the same isn't really true here. Law enforcement will have access to many emails by Hillary and her associates, but most of those tended to be selected, aside from the Weiner laptop stuff which some FBI agents felt warranted reopening the investigation.

So this will take sweat and some heavy lifting. And we'll see if the people doing it are serious about it.