FBI releases closed case files on Bill Clinton
THE FBI has unexpectedly released documents concerning expresident Bill Clinton’s pardon of the husband of a wealthy Democratic donor just days before the election in which his wife is seeking to become America’s first female president.
The release of the heavily redacted 129-page report over the pardon of trader Marc Rich – an investigation that closed in 2005 without charges – triggered questions from Democrats already angered by the FBI’s probe into hundreds of thousands of newly uncovered emails possibly linked to Hillary Clinton.
While the Rich documents were published online, they received little notice until they were posted on a Twitter account for the FBI’s division managing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that had had no posts since a year ago.
“Will FBI be posting docs on Trump’s housing discrimination in [the] 70s?” said Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon, referring to Republican rival Donald Trump, a billionaire real estate magnate.
The FBI said the documents were posted shortly after they were processed, as with FOIA materials requested three or more times, adding this was only a “preliminary” release that could therefore be followed by more.
Mr Rich was indicted on federal charges of tax evasion in the United States. He was a fugitive from the Department of Justice – at a time one of the FBI’s most wanted – living in exile in Switzerland at the time of his indictment. He died there in 2013.
In a controversial move, Bill Clinton pardoned him on his last day in office on January 20, 2001. The FBI opened its investigation into the pardon later that year.
Mr Rich’s ex-wife Denise Eisenberg Rich, whose name was redacted from the FBI files, “has been a major political donor to the Democratic Party, and these donations may have been intended to influence the fugitive’s pardon”, reads a bureau note requesting that a preliminary investigation be opened. –
US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally in Florida on November 1.