Speed Reads

FBI vs. Clinton

Reports of FBI Clinton Foundation investigation, looming indictment 'just not true,' reports NBC's Pete Williams

On Wednesday night, The Wall Street Journal reported on bitter infighting between some FBI field agents and their superiors at the FBI and Department of Justice over whether to pursue an initial inquiry about the Clinton Foundation, based on an anti-Clinton book, and Fox News reported that an indictment was likely in the case, citing two anonymous sources. Donald Trump has been citing that report at his rallies, even as Fox News' Bret Baier walked it back a bit, noting that the FBI can't indict people, among other problems. These leaks come amid reports that a group of FBI agents, especially in the New York field office, are strongly pro-Trump and hostile to Hillary Clinton.

On MSNBC Thursday, NBC justice correspondent Pete Williams carefully poured cold water on at least the Fox News reports. When Chuck Todd asked him about the status of the Clinton Foundation investigation, he said: "There really isn't one, if you want to call it an investigation. That's a term of art in the FBI. There was an initial inquiry that was opened a couple of months ago based largely on media reports and a book called Clinton Cash, and there were some initial things done in that. But FBI officials tell me there's been virtually no movement on that case for the last several months. So this idea that there are indictments near or something like that, I am told, is just not true."

The Fox News report also alleged that there's a high probability that five foreign entities breached Hillary Clinton's private email server, and Williams said "I am told that there is no such view" at the FBI. That doesn't mean there was no breach, he added, just that they "found no positive proof of any successful hacks." Todd asked Williams what FBI officials think about all the leaking going on, especially since it seems partisan. "Are they comfortable with all this innuendo that's being based on FBI sources?" he asked. "Well, they don't like it, certainly, but they don't believe that the answer is to come out and say anything," Williams said, chuckling. "I think many of them feel like they said enough last Friday." Peter Weber