Few Americans will remember the name Marc Rich. But his name is now a very new part of the decline of Hillary Clinton as of Monday. The FBI has unexpectedly released documents concerning ex-president Bill Clinton’s pardon of the husband of a wealthy Democratic donor. This is another surprise move days before the election, while his wife is in the political fight of her life with Donald Trump.
The release of 129-page report over the pardon of trader Marc Rich, an investigation that closed in 2005 without charges, now has created more anger among Democrats following the FBI’s probe into hundreds of thousands of newly uncovered emails possibly linked to Hillary Clinton.
Are the moon and the stars aligned for Trump?
The documents drew little notice until Tuesday when they were posted on a Twitter account for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s division managing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Hillary Clinton’s spokesman had the understatement of the campaign when he said, “Absent a FOIA litigation deadline, this is odd. Will FBI be posting docs on Trump’s housing discrimination in the ’70s?” No sir, that was an entirely different animal – that was a civil lawsuit against many landlords.
Absent a FOIA litigation deadline, this is odd.
Will FBI be posting docs on Trump's housing discrimination in '70s?https://t.co/uJMMzX6rtI
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) November 1, 2016
An FBI statement explained, “Per the standard procedure for FOIA, these materials became available for release and were posted automatically and electronically to the FBI’s public reading room in accordance with the law and established procedures.” The statement added the findings were preliminary and more documents may follow.
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. Many wondered aloud at the time why Clinton would pardon such a despicable man. 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.
One reason most definitely could be Rich’s ex-wife Denise Eisenberg Rich. She “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.
Oh, that’s what it was.
To no one’s surprise aside from ‘Hillary no matter what’ zealots, some of the donations went to the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation, the predecessor to the Clinton Foundation, according to the document. In another understatement, the FBI remarked in a document dated February, 2001, “It appears that the required pardon standards and procedures were not followed.”
Ironically, the Rich case fell under the watch of current FBI Director James Comey, then a younger prosecutor. The recent events come back to back in recent days and have left serious doubt the Clinton campaign can recover.
The FBI document dump comes as Comey is under fire, from both Democrats and some Republicans, for effectively reopening in recent days the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.