The Department of Justice has launched a new inquiry into the Clinton Foundation for pay-to-play politics. And while this is bad news for Hillary Clinton, it is compounded by the fact that the DOJ is also looking into her use of a private email server while she was at the State Department.
The inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s flagrant misuse of private email has been coming for a while. The president has spoken about it often and new details seem to emerge every week. Just last week the State Department was forced to release emails that showed classified material was on the computer of Huma Abedin’s estranged, and currently imprisoned, husband Anthony Weiner. Before that though the DOJ was already examining Hillary Clinton’s role in the email saga.
In the October 9th, 2016 presidential debate then-candidate Donald Trump promised that he would have his attorney general look into her email situation:
“’If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,’ he said, referring to her emails, ‘because there has never been so many lies, so much deception.’
“’It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,’ she replied.
“’Because you’d be in jail,’ he retorted.”
Specifically, the Justice Department is trying to ascertain how Clinton and her aides handled classified documents, how much classified material was sent over her private server, who put that information in an unclassified place, and which investigators were aware of these details and when.
It’s bad news for Hillary Clinton for sure. But it was made even worse in an announcement that the DOJ is also investigating the Clinton Foundation. One of the biggest surprises last year was the revelation that there was never any real consideration of an investigation into the Foundation after clear conflicts of interests were readily verified. There were payments made to Bill Clinton while Hillary was secretary of state that may have influenced official decisions.
The probe is looking into whether the Clintons made any promises that Clinton could fulfill in her office in exchange for donations. It also will examine if “any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the Foundation complied with applicable tax laws.”
Needless to say, Hillary Clinton is spooked:
“Hillary Clinton’s chief spokesman Nick Merrill on Friday morning excoriated the FBI for re-opening the case, calling the probe ‘disgraceful’ and suggesting it was nothing more than a political distraction from President Trump’s Russia controversies.
“‘Let’s call this what it is: a sham,’ Merrill said. ‘This is a philanthropy that does life-changing work, which Republicans have tried to turn into a political football. It began with a now long-debunked project spearheaded by Steve Bannon during the presidential campaign. It continues with Jeff Sessions doing Trump’s bidding by heeding his calls to meddle with a department that is supposed to function independently.'”
There is one potential roadblock for prosecution though. Most federal felonies have a statute of limitations of five years. Hillary Clinton left office in early 2013 so it remains to be seen what, if anything, can be done if it isn’t done soon.