Secret Recordings Fueled Mutinous FBI Investigation of Clintons Despite DOJ Orders To "Stand Down"
Nov 3, 2016 2:35 AM
It's looking increasingly like there is an ongoing mutiny underway within the FBI as the Wall Street Journal is reporting that, according to "officials at multiple agencies", FBI agents felt they had adequate evidence, including "secret recordings of a suspect talking about the Clinton Foundation", to pursue an investigation of the Clinton Foundation but were repeatedly obstructed by officials at the Department of Justice.
Secret recordings of a suspect talking about the Clinton Foundation fueled an internal battle between FBI agents who wanted to pursue the case and corruption prosecutors who viewed the statements as worthless hearsay, people familiar with the matter said.
The roots of the dispute lie in a disagreement over the strength of the case, these people said, which broadly centered on whether Clinton Foundation contributors received favorable treatment from the State Department under Hillary Clinton.
Senior officials in the Justice Department and the FBI didn’t think much of the evidence, while investigators believed they had promising leads their bosses wouldn’t let them pursue, they said.
Despite clear signals from the Justice Department to abandon the Clinton Foundation inquiries, many FBI agents refused to stand down. Then, earlier this year in February 2016, the FBI presented initial evidence at a meeting with Leslie Caldwell, the head of the DOJ's criminal division, after which agents were delivered a clear message that "we're done here." But, as the WSJ points out, DOJ became increasing frustrated with FBI agents that were "disregarding or disobeying their instructions" which subsequently prompted an emphatic "stand down" message from the DOJ to "all the offices involved."
As 2015 came to a close, the FBI and Justice Department had a general understanding that neither side would take major action on Clinton Foundation matters without meeting and discussing it first. In February, a meeting was held in Washington among FBI officials, public-integrity prosecutors and Leslie Caldwell, the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division. Prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York—Mr. Capers’ office—didn’t attend, these people said.
The public-integrity prosecutors weren’t impressed with the FBI presentation, people familiar with the discussion said. “The message was, ‘We’re done here,’ ” a person familiar with the matter said.
Justice Department officials became increasingly frustrated that the 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 FBI had secretly recorded conversations of a suspect in a public-corruption case talking about alleged deals the Clintons made, these people said. 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.
Despite the warnings, FBI agents continued to press forward leading to a tense August 12th call between a "senior DOJ official" and the FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe, which ended abruptly when McCabe bluntly asked "are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?"
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,” these people said.
As a result of those complaints, these people said, a senior Justice Department official called the FBI deputy director, Mr. McCabe, on Aug. 12 to say the agents in New York seemed to be disregarding or disobeying their instructions, these people said. The conversation was a tense one, they said, and at one point Mr. McCabe asked, “Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?’’ The senior Justice Department official replied: ”Of course not.”
With that, it seems that we're starting to get a little more insight into why the FBI didn't "follow protocol" by alerting the DOJ before sending their most recent letter to Congress announcing the re-opening of Hillary's email investigation.
Meanwhile, Fox News reported earlier this evening that "sources" claim to have an "avalanche of evidence" in their case against Hillary and that "barring obstruction" they would continue to push for an indictment. The next 5 days should be very interesting.