possible quid pro quo

January 4, 2018 – FBI launches new Clinton Foundation investigation

(Credit: New York Post)

“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.

One witness recently interviewed by the FBI described the session to The Hill as “extremely professional and unquestionably thorough” and focused on questions about whether donors to Clinton charitable efforts received any favorable treatment from the Obama administration on a policy decision previously highlighted in media reports.

The witness discussed his interview solely on the grounds of anonymity. He said the agents were from Little Rock and their questions focused on government decisions and discussions of donations to Clinton entities during the time Hillary Clinton led President Obama’s State Department.

The FBI office in Little Rock referred a reporter Thursday to Washington headquarters, where officials declined any official comment.

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.” (Read more: The Hill, 1/04/2018)

December 21, 2017 – Trump signs an EO that allows the freezing of US-housed assets belonging to foreigners or entities deemed “serious human rights abusers” or of those who “engage in corruption”

Trump signs an executive order on December 21, 2017, based on the 2016 Global Human Rights Accountability Act. (Credit: public domain)

“The Trump Administration quietly issued an Executive Order (EO) last Thursday which allows for the freezing of US-housed assets belonging to foreign individuals or entities deemed “serious human rights abusers,” along with government officials and executives of foreign corporations (current or former) found to have engaged in corruption – which includes the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, and corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources. 

Furthermore, anyone in the United States who aids or participates in said corruption or human rights abuses by foreign parties is subject to frozen assets – along with any U.S. corporation who employs foreigners deemed to have engaged in corruption on behalf of the company.

(…) Last Week’s Executive Order could have serious implications for D.C. lobbyists who provide “goods and services” (e.g. lobbying services) to despots, corrupt foreign politicians or foreign organizations engaging in the crimes described in the EO. “Virtually every lobbyist in DC has got to be in a cold sweat over the scope of this EO,” said an attorney consulted in the matter who wishes to remain anonymous.

Now consider that if reports from The Hill are accurate – an FBI mole deep within the Russian uranium industry uncovered evidence that “Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow (the Uranium One approval)” – a deal which would eventually grant the Kremlin control over 20 percent of America’s uranium supply right around the time Bill Clinton also collected $500,000 for a Moscow speech, as detailed by author Peter Schweitzer’s book Clinton Cash and the New York Times in 2015.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.”The Hill

Hypothetically, if the Uranium One deal is deemed corrupt by the Trump administration, and “Russian nuclear officials” indeed routed millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, and Tony Podesta lobbied on behalf of the deal for the Clinton Foundation – it stands to reason that this Executive Order could freeze the US-housed assets of quite a few individuals. Of note, assets can be frozen with no prior warning, as trump has declared a national emergency due to the “scope and gravity” of the threat posed by said individuals.

To simplify this complicated legal document a bit, keep in mind:

Section 1. (a)(iii) defines U.S. Citizens who have assisted foreigners in any of the crimes described above:

Note: The above section (iii)(A)(3) means any foreign person engaging in “serious human rights abuses” or listed forms of corruption on behalf of a U.S. entity. Also of note – Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back a series of Obama-era curbs on civil-asset forfeiture over the summer, strengthening the federal government’s ability to seize cash and property from Americans without criminal charges. That said, this Executive Order only freezes assets, it does not allow the government to take custody of them. ” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 12/28/2017)

October 24, 2017 – Former Podesta Group executive says Mueller team is focusing primarily on Russian access to the Obama administration, the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One deal

“Tucker Carlson gave an explosive monologue last night after a former executive of the Podesta Group contacted the Fox host with “direct personal knowledge” of a report that former FBI director Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel is investigating the Washington Lobbying firm founded by John and Tony Podesta.

The former executive who has been “extensively” interviewed by Mueller’s team, said the FBI probe is now focusing on people in Washington who have worked as de-facto operatives on behalf of Russian government and business. To that end, Carlson’s source made several shocking claims about Paul Manafort and the Podesta Group peddling Russian influence throughout Washington D.C. – focusing primarily on access to the Obama administration, and heavily involved with the Clinton Foundation and the Uranium One deal.”

(…)  Details: 

  • Lobbyist and temporary Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is at the center of the Russia probe – however the scope of the investigation has broadened to include his activities prior to the 2016 election.
  • Manafort worked with the Podesta Group since at least 2011 on behalf of Russian interests, and was at the Podesta Group offices “all the time, at least once a month,” peddling Russian influence through a shell group called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU).
  • Manafort brought a “parade” of Russian oligarchs to congress for meetings with members and their staffs, however, the Russia’s “central effort” was the Obama Administration.
  • In 2013, John Podesta recommended that Tony hire David Adams, Hillary Clinton’s chief adviser at the State Department, giving them a “direct liaison” between the group’s Russian clients and Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
  • In late 2013 or early 2014, Tony Podesta and a representative for the Clinton Foundation met to discuss how to help Uranium One – the Russian owned company that controls 20 percent of American Uranium Production – and whose board members gave over $100 million to the Clinton Foundation.
  • “Tony Podesta was basically part of the Clinton Foundation.”
  • Believing she would win the 2016 election, Russia considered the Podesta Group’s connection to Hillary highly valuable.
  • Podesta Group is a nebulous organization with no board oversight and all financial decisions made by Tony Podesta. Carlson’s source said payments and kickbacks could be hard for investigators to trace, describing it as a “highly secret treasure trove.” One employee’s only official job was to manage Tony Podesta’s art collection, which could be used to conceal financial transactions.

(Read more: Zero Hedge, 10/25/2017)

The Wall Street Journal confirms there is an on-going FBI Clinton Foundation investigation, but the Justice Department hasn’t given it investigative powers.

Little Rock FBI Field Office (Credit: public domain)

Little Rock FBI Field Office (Credit: public domain)

In January 2016, Fox News reported that the FBI had an on-going investigation into the Clinton Foundation, but this generally wasn’t reported or discussed in other media outlets. In August 2016, the Daily Caller reported on the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation, but this also wasn’t generally reported otherwise. For instance, a CNN story that same month asserted the investigation didn’t exist.

On this day, the Wall Street Journal confirms there is an on-going FBI Clinton Foundation investigation, and provides many new details about it. The investigation began some time before October 2015. By February 2016, four FBI field offices were collecting information about the foundation to see if there is evidence of financial crimes or influence-peddling:

  • The Los Angeles office developed an interest in the Clinton Foundation from an unrelated public-corruption case and has issued some subpoenas for bank records related to the foundation.
  • The Washington, DC, office is investigating financial relationships involving Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), who has been a Clinton Foundation board member.
  • The New York office has done the most work regarding the foundation.
  • The Little Rock, Arkansas, office has had some role, probably due to the Clintons’ ties in Arkansas, where Bill Clinton was governor.
The Jacob K. Javits Federal Building is home to the FBI field agents in New York, New York. (Credit: public domain)

FBI Field Office in New York, New York. (Credit: public domain)

In mid-July 2016, the New York office took charge of the investigation, with the Little Rock office providing assistance.

However, the Journal also reports that senior Justice Department officials have “repeatedly voiced skepticism of the strength of the evidence in [the FBI’s foundation investigation], sought to condense what was at times a sprawling cross-country effort, and, according to some people familiar with the matter, told agents to limit their pursuit of the case.”

Additionally, “Some investigators grew frustrated, viewing FBI leadership as uninterested in probing the charity, these people said. Others involved disagreed sharply, defending FBI bosses and saying [FBI Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe in particular was caught between an increasingly acrimonious fight for control between the Justice Department and FBI agents pursuing the Clinton Foundation case.”

In February 2016, FBI agents presented their evidence on the foundation to senior Justice Department officials. But those officials decided not to give the investigation the legal backing to convene a grand jury, which means investigators don’t have subpoena or search warrants power. However, the investigators have continued without that power, apparently collecting much of their evidence from publicly available information.

This situation has apparently continued ever since, with the investigation continuing but hobbled due to the lack of the legal powers given by a grand jury. According to the Journal paraphrasing an unnamed official, “the [New York] FBI office [is] eager to pour more resources into [the] case and Justice Department prosecutors [don’t] think much of the case…” (The Wall Street Journal, 10/30/2016)

FBI Miami Field Office (Credit: public domain)

FBI Miami Field Office (Credit: public domain)

Also on October 30, 2016, the Daily Caller will allege there is a fifth FBI field office – the Miami, Florida office – involved in the investigation.

Additionally, later on the same day, the Clinton Foundation denies knowledge of any government investigation targeting them.

However, the Washington Post confirms the Wall Street Journal’s claims. The Post emphasizes that the investigation has been blocked by the Justice Department’s public integrity section prosecutors, who are not politically appointed. (The Washington Post, 10/30/2016)

The FBI does have a Clinton Foundation investigation, and Huma Abedin’s newly discovered emails could be useful to it.

Tom Fuentes (Credit: CNN)

Tom Fuentes (Credit: CNN)

Tom Fuentes is a former assistant FBI director at the FBI and a CNN analyst. He says, “The FBI has an intensive investigation, ongoing, into the Clinton Foundation. … [Clinton aide] Huma Abedin and her role in the foundation, and possible allegations concerning the activities of the secretary of state [Clinton] in the nature of the foundation, and possible pay to play – that’s still being looked at. Now you have her emails on a computer where the FBI already has a separate case going for Anthony Weiner’s alleged activities with a minor girl on that case. So, in a sense, it’s almost turned into a one-stop shopping for the FBI as they could have implications affecting three separate investigations on one computer.”

He adds that “Her emails are not just related to the email Clinton [investigation]. That part’s being reopened. The Clinton Foundation case didn’t need to be reopened, it’s never been closed. That’s on-going.”

When asked what his source for this is, he says, “Senior officials at the FBI, several of them, in and out of the bureau.”

In August 2016, CNN reported that there was no FBI Clinton Foundation investigation. But just one day after Fuentes’ comments, both the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post will confirm the claims made by Fuentes. (CNN, 10/29/2016)

If Clinton is elected president, she may keep Lynch as attorney general.

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Obama looks on as Loretta Lynch is sworn in during a formal ceremony on June 17, 2015. (Credit: Oliver Douliery / European Press Agency)

The New York Times reports, “Democrats close to Mrs. Clinton say she may decide to retain Ms. [Loretta] Lynch, the nation’s first black woman to be attorney general, who took office in April 2015.” The Times says this comes from “Democrats, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential conversations with Mrs. Clinton and her advisers…” (The New York Times, 7/3/2016)

Lynch technically is the head of the FBI’s Clinton investigation, since she’s in charge of the Justice Department and the FBI is a part of that. She recently announced she would accept the recommendation of the FBI and top Justice lawyers in Clinton’s case, but she has not fully recused herself.

Two days later, and after FBI Director James Comey announces he will not recommend that Clinton be indicted, presumptive Republican presidential nominee will comment on the article’s revelation, saying, “I think it’s a bribe.” (The Washington Post, 7/5/2016)

December 03, 2011 – Opinion: Grifters-in-Chief

Kimberly Strassel (Credit: Wall Street Journal)

By Kimberley Strassel

(…) “The memo came near the end of a 2011 review by law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett into Clinton Foundation practices. Chelsea Clinton had grown concerned about the audacious mixing of public and private, and the review was designed to ensure that the foundation didn’t lose its charitable tax status. Mr. Band, Teneo boss and epicenter of what he calls “ Bill Clinton, Inc.,” clearly felt under assault and was eager to brag up the ways in which his business had concurrently benefited the foundation, Clinton political causes and the Clinton bank account. The memoed result is a remarkably candid look at the sleazy inner workings of the Clinton grifters-in-chief.
The cross-pollination is flagrant, and Mr. Band gives example after example of how it works. He and his partner Declan Kelly (a Hillary Clinton fundraiser whom Mrs. Clinton rewarded by making him the State Department’s special envoy to Northern Ireland) buttered up their clients with special visits to Bill’s home and tête-à-tête golf rounds with the former president. They then “cultivated” these marks ( Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, UBS) for foundation dollars, and then again for high-dollar Bill Clinton speeches and other business payouts.

Teneo’s incestuous behavior also included Mrs. Clinton’s State Department. The Band memo boasts that Mr. Kelly (while he was Mrs. Clinton’s State envoy) introduced the then-head of UBS Wealth Management, Bob McCann, to Bill Clinton at an American Ireland Fund event in 2009. “Mr. Kelly subsequently asked Mr. Mccann [sic] to support the Foundation, which he did . . . Mr. Kelly also encouraged Mr. Mccann [sic] to invite President Clinton to give several paid speeches, which he has done,” reads Mr. Band’s memo. UBS ultimately paid Bill $2 million.

American Ireland Fund meanwhile became a Teneo client, and made Mr. Kelly (of former State envoy fame) a trustee, where he “ensured that the AIF is a significant donor to the Foundation.” AIF then bestowed upon Mrs. Clinton a major award on her final trip to Northern Ireland in 2012, in an event partly sponsored by . . . Teneo.

Not that this is all one way. Mr. Band let slip just how useful all these arrangements were for Teneo, too, when he backhandedly apologized in the memo for hosting 15 client meetings in a hotel room rented by the Clinton Global Initiative.

The memo removes any doubt that the foundation is little more than an unregistered super PAC working on the Clintons’ behalf. Donors to the charity are simultaneously tapped to give Bill speech requests and other business arrangements, including the $3.5 million he was paid annually to serve as “honorary chairman” of Laureate International Universities. Mr. Band’s memo also notes his success at getting donors to “support candidates running for office that President Clinton was supporting.” (Read more: Wall Street Journal, 10/27/2016) (Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLC “Governance Review” 12/03/2011)

June 9, 2010: Giustra and the Clintons meet the Colombian President; Giustra gets big contracts in Colombia and Giustra makes big donations to the Clinton Foundation

Clinton shakes hands with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe at a press conference in Bogota, Colombia, on June 9, 2010. (Credit: Eitan Abramovich / Agence France Presse)

“While running for president in 2008, both Clinton and Senator Barack Obama (D) publicly opposed a US trade deal with Colombia, the United States–U., due to human rights violations there.

In June 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her husband former President Bill Clinton, and Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra meet with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in Colombia. Giustra has developed business ties worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Colombia after repeated meetings with Uribe and Bill Clinton. Giustra also has donated tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Uribe has been widely criticized for human rights abuses.

Representative Jim McGovern (D) warns Hillary in a private email that “while in Colombia, the most important thing the Secretary can do is to avoid effusive praise for President Alvaro Uribe.” But Hillary ignores this warning. After the dinner, she gives a public speech in which she praises Uribe as an “essential partner to the United States” whose “commitment to building strong democratic institutions here in Colombia” would “leave a legacy of great progress that will be viewed in historic terms.”

She also publicly supports the US trade deal, a deal which would greatly benefit Giustra and other US investors in Colombia. In 2011, workers for the Giustra-owned Pacific Rubiales company in Colombia go on strike. There are allegations they are forced to live and work in “concentration camp-like” conditions. However, the Colombian military uses force and breaks the strike. By this time, Giustra has donated $130 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton’s State Department certifies that Colombia is “meeting statutory criteria related to human rights,” despite widespread evidence to the contrary, and Clinton and now President Obama decide to support the trade deal they had opposed. Later in 2011, the trade deal passes Congress and becomes law. This is followed by more donations from both Giustra and Pacific Rubiales to the Clinton Foundation.” The Hill, 4/9/2015)  (The New York Review of Books,1/30/2016)

June 2010 – 2013: Secret donations flow to Clinton Foundation amid Uranium One deal

Ian Telfer (Credit: Galit Rodan/Bloomberg News/Getty Images

“At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.

Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.” (Read more: New York Times, 4/23/2015)

January 14, 2010: Algeria makes a large donation to the Clinton Foundation in violation of the Foundation’s rules, while Algeria is heavily lobbying Clinton’s State Department

Clinton and Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika meet in Algiers, Algeria, on October 29, 2012. (Credit: US Embassy Algiers)

“Around January 14, 2010, the Algerian government donates $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Algeria has never donated to the foundation before, which means this is a violation of the 2008 “memorandum of understanding” between the foundation and the Obama White House, which prohibited new or increased donations from foreign governments as long as Clinton is the secretary of state.

The donation is direct aid to assist relief efforts just days after a large earthquake in Haiti that killed thousands. It also coincides with a spike in Algeria’s lobbying visits to the State Department. In 2010, Algeria spends $400,000 lobbying US officials on Algeria’s human rights record and US-Algeria relations.

The next year, Clinton’s State Department will approve a 70% increase in military export authorizations to Algeria, despite continued issues with the country’s human rights records. For the first time, the department will authorize the sale of almost 50,000 items classified as “toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment.” The sale of US military weapons to Algeria is $2.4 billion, triple what it was in the last four years of the previous Bush administration.” (The Washington Post, 2/25/2015), (The International Business Times, 5/26/2015)