The FBI is actively investigating the Clinton Foundation over corruption allegations, according to a report published Friday.
The bureau is looking into whether the Bill and Hillary Clinton-run foundation misused tax-exempt funds or whether donors "were improperly promised policy favors or special access to Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state in exchange for donations to the charity's coffers," according to a U.S. official who spoke to CNN.
The investigation is based out of the FBI field offices in Little Rock, Arkansas, and at least one witness has already been investigated, according to the Hill‘s John Salomon, who first reported the inquiry. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the interview was "extremely professional and unquestionably thorough."
Spokesmen for the Clintons and the foundation insisted on the false nature of the allegations.
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."
Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian took a more muted response, saying the new probe wouldn't distract the charity from its daily work.
"Time after time, the Clinton Foundation has been subjected to politically motivated allegations, and time after time these allegations have been proven false. None of this has made us waver in our mission to help people," Minassian said. "The Clinton Foundation has demonstrably improved the lives of millions of people across America and around the world while earning top ratings from charity watchdog groups in the process."
But the investigation was stymied by the then-Loretta Lynch led Department of Justice, which was "dismissive" of the case, according to the Journal. The Justice Department reportedly told the FBI in a meeting it "wouldn't authorize more aggressive investigative techniques, such as subpoenas, formal witness interviews, or grand-jury activity."
CNN likewise reports that the Obama Justice Department gave the FBI "a message of ‘hold right now until after the elections—no subpoenas issued, no interviews.'"