A key prosecutor currently serving on Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team reportedly discouraged the FBI from pursuing an investigation into the Clinton Foundation back in 2016. This decision was attributed to the prosecutor, Ray Hulser, who was then the chief of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section. Despite the existence of “multiple” Suspicious Activity Reports involving “hundreds of thousands of dollars in foreign transactions,” Hulser deemed the evidence as “negligible,” according to a report referencing Special Counsel John Durham’s findings released in May 2023.
Durham’s report revealed that in January 2016, three FBI field offices—New York, Little Rock, and Washington—had initiated investigations into potential criminal activities involving the Clinton Foundation. The inquiries were prompted by concerns of a “flow of benefits scheme” involving large monetary contributions to a non-profit associated with a federal public official in exchange for favorable government actions. Additionally, the investigations were influenced by allegations raised in the book “Clinton Cash” by Peter Schweizer.
Despite these investigations and the perceived need for coordination among the field offices, FBI Headquarters, and U.S. Attorney’s offices, Hulser, during a meeting in February 2016, downplayed information provided by the New York Field Office and considered the financial reporting amount as “de minimus.” Hulser subsequently declined prosecution on behalf of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section, emphasizing that his decision was not binding on other offices.
Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and FBI Director James Comey reportedly exerted pressure to close the cases, and in August 2016, a meeting directed the closure and consolidation of the investigations. The U.S. attorneys’ offices declined to issue subpoenas during this meeting.
Hulser, who was interviewed by Durham, expressed the view that Schweizer’s book provided “insufficient predication” for at least one of the investigations.
The report suggests that Smith’s team, including individuals with prior involvement in politically sensitive situations, may have conflicts of interest. Critics argue that the appointment of a special counsel under the Biden Justice Department was politically motivated, aiming to create distance between the attorney general and the decision to bring charges against Trump. The timing of investigations has been questioned, with Smith pursuing charges against Trump for alleged election interference and retaining classified information, despite the upcoming 2024 election and Trump’s candidacy.
Hulser’s involvement in the DOJ’s prosecution of former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro, held in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021, was also highlighted.