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“It was reported last night that the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s pay-for-play corruption,” the Republican presidential nominee said today in Jacksonville, Florida, during his first rally of the day. “The investigation is described as a high priority. It’s far-reaching and has been going on for more than one year. It was reported that an avalanche of information is coming in. The FBI agents say their investigation is likely to yield an indictment.”
ABC News sources, however, indicated those statements — and the Fox News reports they’re based on — are inaccurate and without merit.
The sources acknowledged that the FBI began looking into the Clinton Foundation after the controversial book “Clinton Cash” was published last year. In particular, agents were trying to determine whether donations to the foundation may have been traded for access to Clinton while she was secretary of state.
In February, FBI agents presented their findings to senior FBI officials and prosecutors in the Justice Department’s public integrity section, sources said. But the prosecutors and senior FBI officials agreed that there was no clear evidence of wrongdoing and that a criminal case tied to the Clinton Foundation could not be made, according to the sources.
“It was not impressive,” one source said of the February presentation. “It was not something that [prosecutors] felt they could authorize additional steps for. They were not impressed with the presentation or the evidence — if you could even call it evidence to that point.”
Investigators and higher-ups have continued to discuss the matter, but there has been no change in posture, sources said. Authorities still believe there is no evidence of wrongdoing, and they do not believe there is a sufficient reason to pursue charges, according to the sources.
The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times first reported many of the details about how the Clinton Foundation–related probe developed.
According to the Clinton Foundation, it provides healthful meals to children in nearly 35,000 schools across the United States; trains more than 150,000 farmers in Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania; and helps more than 11.5 million people around the world gain access to more affordable HIV/AIDS medications.
ABC News’ John Santucci and Candace Smith contributed to this report.