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FBI disclosure of Clinton probe broke with prior practice; summer inquiries kept quiet

By
Eric DuVall
Democrats have challemged the FBI over the department's decision to go public with information they are reneweing the investigation into her use of a private email server while secretary of state. A media report shows the FBI declined twice previously to disclose the status of investigations into both Clinton's and Donald Trump's campaigns. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI
Democrats have challemged the FBI over the department's decision to go public with information they are reneweing the investigation into her use of a private email server while secretary of state. A media report shows the FBI declined twice previously to disclose the status of investigations into both Clinton's and Donald Trump's campaigns. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The FBI conducted investigations into both the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump campaigns during the run-up to the general election but did not make them public, law enforcement sources said, a fact that has Democrats angry over last week's admission of a renewed FBI interest in Clinton's private email server.

By contrast, the admission from FBI Director Jim Comey about the Clinton email server investigation has a prominent member of a House Republican committee pledging to continue the investigation into Clinton's email into 2017, after the election is over and the next president is in office.

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The New York Times reported Wednesday the FBI conducted under-the-radar probes linked to both campaigns: Clinton's for her ties to her family's charitable Clinton Foundation while secretary of state; and Trump's for his former campaign manager's ties to the Russian-backed former president of Ukraine. Neither investigation resulted in any evidence of criminal wrongdoing and the FBI did not acknowledge the inquiries were happening, in accordance with longstanding department policy refusing to talk publicly about ongoing probes.

The FBI reportedly examined allegations the Clintons profited personally from their charitable foundation and that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had ties to pro-Russian groups as a result of his political consultant work on behalf of the former Russian-backed president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovich.

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In neither instance did the FBI pursue criminal charges.

After the political firestorm created Friday when Comey wrote to congressional leaders the department had possibly come across new evidence in the since-concluded Clinton email probe, Democrats have cried foul. They said it was irresponsible of Comey to publicize the existence of new evidence without being able to say whether it would have any bearing on his prior recommendation no charges were warranted against Clinton or her aides for the use of a private email server.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said the FBI should treat both the campaigns the same and release details of the FBI's probe into Trump's alleged ties to Russia, calling it a "blatant double-standard."

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Trump lauded Comey's decision to "reopen" the Clinton email investigation, a term the FBI has avoided because it was never officially closed. Since then, GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, a member of both the Republican-controlled House Select Committee on Benghazi that first uncovered Clinton's private email server and the House Oversight Committee that picked up the email investigation after that, pledged Comey's revelation would prompt hearings in the new Congress in 2017 if Clinton wins the election.

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"Regardless of who wins on Nov. 8, we must address the Obama administration's overreach and Secretary Clinton's State Department failures," Jordan said in a statement. "While the Benghazi Committee's authorization concludes at year's end, we need to continue investigating Secretary Clinton's email scandal, and alleged impropriety between the State Department and Clinton Foundation."

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