March - 2015

March – July, 2015: Did McCabe issue ‘Stand-Down’ order on FBI Clinton Email Investigation?

Andrew McCabe (Credit: Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner)

“Multiple former FBI officials, along with a Congressional official, say that while there may have been internal squabbling over the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation at the time, there was allegedly another “stand-down” order by McCabe regarding the opening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email for official government business.

McCabe’s stand-down order regarding Clinton’s private email use happened after The New York Times first reported Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules in March 2015 and before the official investigation was requested by the Justice Department toward the end of July 2015.

 

After The New York Times publication, the FBI Washington Field Office began investigating Clinton’s use of private emails and whether she was using her personal email account to transmit classified information. According to sources, McCabe was overseas when he became aware of the investigation and sent electronic communications voicing his displeasure with the agents.

“McCabe tried to steer people off the private email investigation and that appears to be obstruction and should be investigated,” said one former FBI official with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the investigation. “Now if the information on the ‘stand-down’ order is obtained by the IG that could bring a whole lot of other troubles to McCabe.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 4/2018)

March 2015 – The Clinton Foundation’s Behind-the-Scenes Battle With a Charity Watchdog Group

Ken Berger (Credit: Nonprofit Chronicles)

“After being the subject of a spate of negative newspaper accounts about potential conflicts of interest and management dysfunction this winterlong before Clinton Cash — the Clinton Foundation wound up on a “watch list” maintained by the Charity Navigator, the New Jersey–based nonprofit watchdog. The Navigator, dubbed the “most prominent” nonprofit watchdog by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, is a powerful and feared player in the nonprofit world. Founded in 2002, it ranks more than 8,000 charities and is known for its independence. For a while, the Clinton Foundation was happy to promote Charity Navigator’s work (back when they were awarded its highest ranking). In September 2014, in fact, the Navigator’s then-CEO, Ken Berger, was invited to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative. Of course that was before the Foundation was placed on a list with scandal-plagued charities like Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and the Red Cross.

Since March, the Foundation has embarked on an aggressive behind-the-scenes campaign to get removed from the list. Clinton Foundation officials accuse the Navigator of unfairly targeting them, lacking credible evidence of wrongdoing, and blowing off numerous requests for a meeting to present their case. “They’re not only punishing us for being transparent but are not being transparent themselves,” Maura Pally, the Foundation’s acting CEO, told me by phone from Morocco last week. “Charity Navigator doesn’t disclose its donors, but we do and yet that means we’re suffering the consequences.”

Navigator executives counter that the Foundation has demanded they extend the Clintons special treatment. They also allege the Foundation attempted to strong-arm them by calling a Navigator board member. “They felt they were of such importance that we should deviate from our normal process. They were irritated by that,” says Berger.

The feud is a microcosm of all that is exhausting about the Clintons’ endless public battles. Generally, it goes like this: bad press about their lack of transparency sparks some real-world consequence or censure, the Clintons complain that they’re being held to an unfair standard while their critics contend that they expect to be able to write their own rules, and the resulting flare-up leads to more bad press.” (Read more: NYMag 5/10/2015)