Federal officials reportedly have launched a new investigation into allegations of corruption at Bill and Hillary Clinton’s charitable organization.
The FBI and federal prosecutors aim to investigate whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in pay-to-play politics ― that is, whether the Clintons promised political favors in return for financial donations.
The primary location of the investigation will be Little Rock, Arkansas, where the foundation was started, an anonymous law enforcement official first told The Hill. Both the Justice Department and the U.S. attorney’s office in Arkansas declined to comment to CNN about the investigation.
The reopening of the investigation comes on the heels of the Justice Department’s move to also relaunch an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she worked as secretary of state, The Daily Beast reported Thursday.
A former senior DOJ official told The Daily Beast that officials are aware of demands from President Donald Trump to investigate Clinton.
Trump has been increasingly focused on Clinton as the investigation into his alleged ties with Russia has heated up. He tweeted Friday morning that the investigation into him is simply a “hoax.”
The initial Clinton Foundation probe dates back to 2015, when the FBI began looking at people who made donations to the charity. In 2016, prosecutors with the Justice Department rejected a request from the FBI to expand the investigation, The Washington Post reports.
Nick Merrill, spokesman for Clinton, told The Hill on Friday that the new probe is “disgraceful.”
“Let’s call this what it is: a sham,” Merrill told the publication. “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.”
Sources within both the Justice Department and the FBI told The Washington Post they were skeptical that the case would lead to any charges.