The rumor that an "indictment" is "likely" in an ongoing FBI inquiry into the Clinton Foundation, which spread like wildfire across the internet after Fox News host Bret Baier reported it on Wednesday night on Fox’s Special Report, is apparently false.
After a media avalanche on Thursday in which NBC News, ABC News and CNN all reported that Baier was incorrect, Baier retreated, saying he had spoken "inartfully." NBC justice correspondent Pete Williams explained on Thursday:
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.
CNN's Evan Perez had commented, "There's been some reports out there today that an indictment is in the offing in the Clinton Foundation investigation. Everything we've known about this investigation -- that's been going on well over a year -- is that that's not true." ABC News called the report "inaccurate and without merit."
Among other sites, The Hill and Real Clear Politics had run with Baier’s original assertion, which he had doubled down with an hour after Special Report when he joined Brit Hume on his Fox News show. Fox News executive vice president Jay Wallace said, "We stand by the reporting of the Fox News team."
"So this idea that there are indictments near or something like that, I am told, is just not true."
NBC justice correspondent Pete Williams
On Thursday night, Clinton's campaign urged the FBI to make a public statement "to put a stop to these baseless Fox News reports." Campaign press secretary Brian Fallon, citing NBC's Pete Williams, who said "the idea that indictments are near is just not true,” tweeted, "This reporting has been debunked far and wide, and even by Fox News' standards, it was shameful for them to air it."