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FILE - In this July 7, 2016 file photo, FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Oversight Committee to explain his agency's recommendation to not prosecute Hillary Clinton. Comey, who prides himself on moral rectitude and a squeaky-clean reputation is being criticized from all sides for lobbing a stink bomb into the center of the presidential race. Former Justice Department officials and former prosecutors from both parties have called the revelation an improper, astonishing and perplexing intrusion into politics in the critical endgame of the 2016 campaign. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The FBI released archived documents from Bill Clinton's presidency. But why now?


The FBI dealt another blow to the Hillary Clinton campaign Tuesday, sharing 129 archived documents from a 2001 investigation into Bill Clinton's presidential pardon of fugitive financier, Marc Rich. 

This release comes just days after the FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress saying the bureau is reviewing emails from former Clinton aide Huma Abedin's. He suggested the emails could be somehow related to the Democratic presidential nominee's use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state. 

The FBI released the redacted documents Monday, but drew more attention after tweeting about them on Tuesday. 

This initial release consists of material from the FBI's files related to the William J. Clinton Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization," according to a statement on the FBI records vault website. 

"The bulk of these records come from a 2001 FBI investigation into the pardon of Marc Rich (1934-2013), aka Marcell David Reich, by President Clinton in 2001; it was closed in 2005. The material is heavily redacted due to personal privacy protections and grand jury secrecy rules."

Because the documents are so heavily redacted, they don't offer much more information about the criminal inquiry that was launched when Clinton pardoned Rich, who was indicted for tax evasion, among other charges, in 1983 and fled to Switzerland shortly after.

According to USA Today, Bill Clinton's pardon was questioned because Rich's ex-wife made substantial donations to Clinton's presidential library foundation and to Hillary Clinton's campaign for Senate. 

Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon responded to the timing of the document release -- just a week from Election Day.

"Absent a FOIA litigation deadline, this is odd," he tweeted. "Will the FBI be posting docs on Trump's housing discrimination in '70s?"

David Axelrod, who served as an adviser to President Obama, also suggested that this is an example of the FBI interfering with the presidential election. 

"Whatever the reasoning behind it, this latest release further brands the @FBI as the Federal Bureau of Intervention," Axelrod tweeted. "It's a head-scratcher!"

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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