The FBI is under fire for its handling of investigations into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. It’s being accused of stirring up suspicions about her actions without any new evidence that she actually did something wrong. And it’s being accused of violating a norm within the Department of Justice — that agencies shouldn’t release information that could sway a presidential election within 60 days of Election Day.
Then today, someone at the FBI decided it was a good time to release a bunch of files about a 15-year-old Clinton Foundation scandal.
The FBI “vault” is where the agency posts documents online that have been released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. But government agencies have a lot of flexibility in when (and whether) to honor FOIA requests, so it’s not exactly like they had to release these documents a week before the presidential election — and after several days of being hammered for hyping supposed Clinton misdeeds.
Rich had never actually been convicted of wrongdoing — he’d been living abroad since being indicted in the 1980s — which made the pardon unusual, and the fact that his wife had given $1 million to the Democratic Party certainly made the pardon look even sketchier.
But federal investigators ultimately concluded that the Clintons hadn’t done anything wrong. That federal investigation, incidentally, was supervised by then-US Attorney James Comey— the current head of the FBI.