5 times when the Clintons escaped federal charges

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves to the crowd with her husband, former president Bill Clinton © Aaron P. Bernstein
Reports the DoJ rejected the FBI’s request to investigate the Clinton Foundation have created a stir this week. While it is not the first time investigators have gotten close to the Clintons, the couple seem immune to cases and charges.

A new batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails has shed more light on the State Department’s close ties with Bill Clinton’s foundation in the times when it was supervised by the former First Lady. Nearly 300 pages of back-and-forth emails exposed senior officials at the foundation seeking favor and special connection on behalf of wealthy donors.

It has just recently appeared that the FBI has long been interested in the Foundation and even requested the Department of Justice (DoJ) to probe the former president’s non-profit earlier this year, but was denied.

According to CNN, the DoJ said it did not have enough evidence to bring up a corruption probe.

Should the report turn out to be true, it would add to the list of situations when the Clintons fell under federal scrutiny that stopped just short of official probes.

1.Whitewater case, 1992

It is now known as the Whitewater controversy, a case that dates back to 1978 and involves both the former President and his wife Hillary Clinton, currently the Democratic presidential nominee herself.

The case, once dubbed by NPR the “granddaddy of Clintons’ scandals,”centered on real-estate investment Bill and Hillary Clinton into a real estate entity known as Whitewater Development Corporation. At the time, he was serving as Arkansas governor in the late 1970s.

However, it did not surface until Bill Clinton's bid for the presidency in 1992, when the New York Times shared details in its March 8 article.

The Justice Department eventually launched an investigation into the legality of the Whitewater transactions in 1994, but no evidence of wrongdoing has ever been found. At the time, they were suspected in participating in illegal activities related to Whitewater Development Company as "potential beneficiaries."

Even though the case stretched into Clinton’s presidency, neither he nor Hillary were ever charged. Their partners in the real estate investment, Jim McDougal and his then-wife Susan, were convicted of fraud charges.

2.Travelgate, 1993 

A year after Whitewater, Bill Clinton fell under the FBI’s scrutiny in the case that was later dubbed Travelgate. Soon after Clinton moved into the White House, seven workers from the Travel Office were fired under the pretext of “financial” problems. However, critics suspected that, in fact, the Clintons wanted to make room for cronies. The reasons for the firings were probed by the DoJ, a congressional panel and special prosecutors, but no basis was found to bring charges against either Bill or Hillary. 

3. Benghazi deadly attack, 2012

Nearly 10 years after the 1990s controversies, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came under fire after extremists attacked the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

In October 2015, Clinton testified in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi during an 11-hour hearing. One of the longest and costliest partisan congressional investigations in US history ended with no charges. The final 800-page report, issued this past June, said lawmakers found no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing in the 2012 attacks.

Just as more of Clinton’s emails were released, parents of two Americans killed in Benghazi filed lawsuits against the 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee. The families accused the then-secretary of state of mishandling government secrets.  

4. Clinton’s homebrewed server 

Along with Benghazi probe, Clinton also was a part of a separate investigation. Both the FBI and Justice Department have been looking into whether Clinton's private email server compromised government secrets during her tenure at the State Department.
According to the federal investigation, Clinton used “several different servers and numerous mobile devices” to send and read emails on her personal domain from 2009 to 2013.

Of the 30,000 emails turned over to the State Department, the FBI found that 110 messages in 52 chains contained information that was classified at the time, of which eight were Top Secret, 36 were Secret and eight were Confidential.

However, on July 5, FBI Director James Comey recommended no charges against Hillary Clinton over her handling of classified information on a private email server, still calling it “extremely careless.”

Testifying before the Congress, Comey admitted that Clinton lied when she said that she did not send or received any classified in her emails. 

Attorney General Loretta Lynch then accepted the bureau’s recommendations.

5. The Clinton Foundation donations

As the private server case proceeded, more cases grew around Clinton and her team. In January 2011, Fox News reported that the FBI expanded its probe to investigating the possible intersection of Clinton Foundation donations, the dispensation of State Department contracts and whether regular processes were followed. 

A court ordered the former secretary of state to release some 55,000 pages of emails, following a Freedom of Information Act request from Vice News reporter Jason Leopold.

At the end of June, a federal judge ordered the State Department to hand over records detailing Hillary Clinton's schedules during 14 overseas trips. It has been exposed, that then-secretary of state kept meetings with dozens of donors to her family's foundations off her official calendar.

AP filed a lawsuit that also turned up evidence that Clinton's official calendars omitted dozens of donor meetings.