The Justice Department blocked the FBI earlier this year from launching an investigation into the ties between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, according to a law enforcement official.
FBI field officers contacted the Justice Department while the probe into Clinton’s private email server was ongoing to request opening a separate case regarding the relationship between the two entities, CNN reported Wednesday.
The Justice Department, headed by Obama-appointee Attorney General Loretta Lynch, denied the request, claiming its officials had already investigated the foundation’s potential connection to the State Department roughly a year prior, and found insufficient evidence to proceed with a case.
FBI Director James Comey refused to comment on whether federal agents were looking into the Clinton Foundation as part of the email probe during a Senate hearing last month.
"I’m not going to comment on the existence or non-existence of any investigation," Comey told the Republican-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch released 296 pages of Clinton emails Wednesday that detailed instances of top Clinton Foundation officials rewarding their donors with access to the State Department.
In an April 2009 exchange, a top associate at the foundation worked to set up a meeting between a billionaire donor and the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon because of the donor’s affairs in the region.
Another email showed an associate thanking a longtime Clinton aide for the opportunity to go on an "eye-opening" trip with the foundation to Haiti and appeared to be seeking work at the State Department. The agency redacted the person’s name from the email.
Douglas Band, who headed the Clinton Global Initiative, wrote to top Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills that it was "important to take care of" the associate’s request.
"We have all had him on our radar. Personnel has been sending him options," Abedin replied.
Judicial Watch said 44 of the newly released emails were not previously handed over to the State Department. Clinton gave roughly 55,000 pages of emails to the agency, which she said comprised all of her "work-related" emails.
Last month, the FBI concluded a year-long federal investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server to determine whether classified information was criminally mishandled while she served as secretary of state.
Comey said Clinton and her aides were "extremely careless" in handling classified information on her unsecured server, but urged the Justice Department not to bring charges against the Democratic nominee.