Sen. Bernie Sanders gave a short reply but managed to offer a “prediction” on the FBI investigation into his wife’s alleged commission of fraud in acquiring a loan for the now closed Vermont college. Sanders anticipates that the probe would be a “political fizzle.”
Sanders also found a way to pin the blame somehow on President Donald Trump. Sanders said: “This was a story that just, amazingly enough, came out in the middle of my presidential campaign, initiated by Donald Trump’s campaign manager in Vermont. That’s about it. I don’t think it will be a distraction.”
Sanders just attended rallies over the weekend in Pennsylvania and Ohio organized to supposedly defeat the Senate Republicans’ health care bill.
It was reported last week by Harry Jaffe that the Sanders couple had retained attorneys Rich Cassidy and Larry Robbins to represent them in the case of the collapse of Burlington College which Jane Sanders once led from 2004-2011. The probe started in January last year when Vermont GOP vice chair Brady Toensing, who’s also an attorney, urged the FBI to investigate whether Jane Sanders had committed bank fraud to acquire a new campus for the college.
Toensing requested in July 2014 for documents from the Vermont Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency about the school’s purchase of land from a Catholic diocese. Jane Sanders had claimed she had $2.6 million in pledges, thereby securing a bank loan for the campus to pay for the land; it turned out, however, that the college had received less than $1 million in donations, with other pledges even being counted to reach the total.
The story attracted little attention during the 2016 primaries because voters in exit polls found Sanders far more trustworthy than a scandal-plagued Hillary Clinton. Things changed after the bitter battle at the primaries, with Clinton supporters turning their ire on Sanders and started joining conservatives in crowing that Sanders is “under FBI investigation.”
On Sanders’ Saturday Pittsburgh speech, what trended on Twitter was the Burlington College probe. Yet Bernie Sanders is not under FBI investigation himself. Some observers are saying Hillary Clinton supporters are using the issue against Jane Sanders to get back at Bernie over their bitter battle at the primaries. Sanders supporters claimed then that Democrats should not have a nominee who is under FBI investigation, a dig, of course, to Hillary’s private email server scandal.
It remains to be seen whether Sanders’ dismissive attitude about the issue and his prediction that it would simply fizzle out would come true, or he has not seen anything yet.