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WASHINGTON — A Trump administration official said Friday that a revived investigation of the Clinton Foundation "has been going on for months."
The Hill newspaper reported that FBI agents from Little Rock, Arkansas, recently conducted an interview with a potential witness. The paper said the Justice Department "has launched a new inquiry" into the foundation.
But the administration official said the investigation was quietly re-opened several months ago.
Republicans in Congress have repeatedly urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to examine several issues related to Hillary Clinton, including the foundation and her use of a private e-mail server. Some Republicans have said the Justice Department should appoint another special counsel to handle the inquiries.
A Nov. 13 letter to members of Congress from Stephen Boyd, DOJ's assistant attorney general for congressional affairs, said Sessions had directed senior prosecutors to examine the status of several issues, including "whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources." That language, the administration official said Friday, referred, among other things, to the Clinton Foundation investigation.
Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton, called the renewed investigation "a sham" and said its goal "is to distract from the indictments, guilty pleas and accusations of treason from Trump's own people at the expense of our justice system's integrity."
"It's disgraceful, and should be concerning to all Americans," Merrill said.
The FBI has looked at the foundation's activities before. The question was whether donors to the foundation received favorable treatment from the State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
The investigation was dialed back during the 2016 presidential campaign. It is now being run by the FBI's office in Little Rock, where the foundation has an office. And though the inquiry has been revived, it is being conducted at a substantially lower profile.
"Time after time, the Clinton Foundation has been subjected to politically motivated allegations, and time after time these allegations have been proven false. None of this has made us waver in our mission to help people," said Craig Minassian, a foundation spokesman. "We're going to stay focused on what really matters."