The FBI is expanding its investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server to examine whether Clinton used her office in a way that benefited the Clinton Foundation.
The story was first reported Monday by Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne of Fox News.
“The FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state has expanded to look at whether the possible ‘intersection’ of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business may have violated public corruption laws, three intelligence sources not authorized to speak on the record told Fox News,” wrote Herridge and Brown.
“This new investigative track is in addition to the focus on classified material found on Clinton’s personal server,” they added.
The news greatly ratchets up the legal risk for Clinton.
“This is felony corruption. Is there a connection, the FBI says, between the government of whatever country giving Bill Clinton a million-dollar speech fee and the then-secretary of state, who happens to be his spouse, making a decision that benefits that country?” said former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Victoria Toensing, who is also a former assistant U.S. attorney.
Toensing believes the probe was expanded a while ago and the nation is only finding out about it now. She also suspects that while the rest of Washington was waiting for Benghazi-related emails, the FBI was able to recover additional messages that led its work in this direction.
“I’m sure when they got into her server and saw all the emails they saw all kinds of back and forth between Bill Clinton getting paid and her making decisions at the State Department,” said Toensing.
She said it doesn’t take much to widen a FBI investigation.
“You’d be looking at certain emails, whether they’re classified or not, and all of a sudden you might come across these that are talking about the quid pro quo of the speech payments and Hillary’s decision. You wouldn’t need more than a couple of those,” said Toensing, who explained that corruption charges aren’t that hard to prove.
“You just need something in a reasonable period of time frame,” she said. “The issue comes up, Bill’s giving a speech, there’s a decision pending and that happens within the next two or three months. That’s all you need.”
Toensing added, “There are a number of those that have been alleged in newspaper accounts. He comes in, gives a speech for them. He gets a lot of money and then she gives them favorable decisions at the State Department. It’s like the State Department is a RICO organization under the Clintons.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Victoria Toensing:
She said Hillary ought to be big trouble given the precedent already set by the Obama Justice Department.
“This Justice Department under this administration prosecuted and convicted Gov. (Bob) McDonnell of Virginia for just making a few phone calls for somebody he had known for several years,” Toensing said.
“This is far beyond what McDonnell did. He made a few phone calls, which never amounted to anything. If Bill Clinton got paid for a speech … and Hillary Clinton made decisions favorable to that entity, business or country in a reasonable time frame, that is per se a violation of law.”
The expanded FBI investigation into Clinton’s activities comes on the heels of a potentially damaging email in which Clinton appears to instruct a top aide to send a secure message through non-secure means and without markings that the information was classified.
In June 2011, State Department official Jacob Sullivan was attempting to send Secretary Clinton some talking points but ran into technical problems.
“They say they’ve had issues sending secure fax. They’re working on it,” emailed Sullivan.
“If they can’t, turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure,” replied Clinton.
On Sunday, “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson asked Hillary whether she broke the law.
“No. And it wasn’t sent,” Hillary said on Sunday. “So I think this is another instance where what is common practice, namely, look, I need information, I had some points I had to make and I was waiting for a secure fax that could give me the whole picture, but often times there’s a lot of information that isn’t at all classified so whatever information can be appropriately transmitted unclassified often was – that’s true for every agency in the government and anyone who does business with the government.”
Toensing said that answer makes her gag, and it runs counter to what her sources in the State Department have told her.
“I have been told by people that the word in the State Department was that she had instructed people to take the markings off of classified material,” Toensing said.
She said this is the latest twist in the ever-evolving Clinton explanation of her server and her handling of classified materials.
“First of all, remember the line was every secretary of state had their own personal email account. But we’re not talking about the email account, we’re talking about the server. It’s the server, stupid. When people started talking about that, she said, ‘Well I didn’t receive classified information on it,'” Toensing said.
“That got to be a problem when all of a sudden people were finding classified information. Then she said, ‘I didn’t receive anything that was marked classified.'”
Toensing said Clinton has two problems on this front: that she kept classified information on an unauthorized server and that she had a responsibility to know what information is classified whether it is marked or not.
She said the law in 18 U.S.C. §1924 is crystal clear.
“It says it is a crime to put classified information in ‘an unauthorized location.’ It’s as simple as that,” Toensing said.
The statute does say the person must knowingly engage in the behavior. Toensing says the email to Sullivan shows willful intent.
“That would show that she had knowledge that she was getting information that was classified and that it was coming into the server in the bathroom,” she said.
While the FBI has announced no timetable for making any recommendations to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Toensing is uncertain whether the Obama Justice Department would ever charge Clinton, she says the political realities require something to happen soon on this case, probably in the next 60-90 days.
“Although the government is never supposed to take politics into account, it would not be a good thing to allow a political party to nominate somebody and then the next day indict them,” she said.
Toensing and her husband, former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova, have both stated multiple times that they believe large portions of the FBI will revolt if Lynch fails to indict Clinton and would make it their mission to get their findings to the public.
She said Lynch is feeling immense pressure from both sides.
“I think there will be a recommendation from the FBI to the Justice Department,” she said. “Maybe the Clinton people will get to Loretta Lynch. Maybe people will tell her she’ll never eat lunch in this town again. But I think if she doesn’t go along with the FBI recommendation, she won’t eat lunch in this town again anyway.”