Democrat Bill Clinton is the president of the US for eight years and his wife Hillary Clinton is the first lady.
James Comey is deputy special counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee. According to Time Magazine in March 2016: “In 1996, after months of work, Comey came to some damning conclusions: Hillary Clinton was personally involved in mishandling documents and had ordered others to block investigators as they pursued their case. Worse, her behavior fit into a pattern of concealment: she and her husband had tried to hide their roles in two other matters under investigation by law enforcement. Taken together, the interference by White House officials, which included destruction of documents, amounted to ‘far more than just aggressive lawyering or political naiveté,’ Comey and his fellow investigators concluded. It constituted ‘a highly improper pattern of deliberate misconduct.’”
However, Comey is not in charge of the case, and his superiors decide not to press charges against Bill or Hillary Clinton in the matter.
It starts off with a modest focus on his planned presidential library in Arkansas. But once Clinton’s term as president ends in early 2001, the Clinton Foundation will steadily expand its mission and its size, eventually becoming one of the largest charities in the world. By 2015, it will have raised over $2 billion in donations. Bill Clinton never takes a salary from the foundation, nor does his wife Hillary Clinton. However, the two of them combined will earn over $150 million in speaking fees, often giving speeches discussing the foundation’s work.
A 2015 Washington Post article will comment, “At its heart, the Clinton Foundation is an ingenious machine that can turn something intangible—the Clintons’ global goodwill—into something tangible: money. For the Clintons’ charitable causes. For their aides and allies. And, indirectly, for the Clintons themselves.” (The Washington Post, 6/2/2015)
The Washington Post will later report that between the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency in 2001 and 2013, he is paid at least $26 million to speak for groups that are also major donors to the Clinton Foundation. This is one-fourth of his overall speaking fees (at least $100 million) in that time period, demonstrating “how closely intertwined Bill and Hillary Clinton’s charitable work has become with their growing personal wealth.”
Many groups paying for his speeches also have interests affected by Hillary Clinton’s State Department when she is secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. (The Washington Post, 4/22/2015)
Deutch was CIA director from May 1995 to December 1996. Shortly after he retired from the job, it was discovered that he stored and processed hundreds of highly classified government files on unprotected home computers that he and his family also used to connect to the Internet. An investigation began which dragged on for years. He was stripped of his CIA security clearance in 1999.
On January 19, 2001, Deutch agrees to plead guilty to a misdemeanor for mishandling government secrets as part of a plea bargain with the Justice Department. However, just one day later, President Bill Clinton officially pardons him. This is Clinton’s last day as president. (The Associated Press, 1/24/2001)
Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra formed a company called Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. for business in Colombia. From 2005, former President Bill Clinton arranges a series of meetings between Giustra and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, in which Clinton is frequently present. In 2007, Clinton even meets Uribe and Giustra at the Clintons’ home in Chappaqua, New York. Also in 2007, Pacific Rubiales signs a $300 million deal to build a pipeline in central Colombia, gains control of Colombia’s largest oilfield, and acquires the right to cut timber in a biologically diverse Colombian forest. Giustra will later insist that was purely coincidental, and he has traveled frequently with Bill Clinton without business deals. (Clinton has flown for free on Giustra’s private jet at least 25 times.) But Bloomberg News will later note, “Giustra’s globe-trotting adventures with Bill Clinton have coincided with lucrative business deals.”
In 2007, Giustra and Bill Clinton cofound a Canadian offshoot of the Clinton Foundation called the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP). It will later be alleged that this is a “slush fund” allowing foreigners to donate money indirectly to the Clinton Foundation in the hopes of getting favorable treatment from the Clintons.
In 1991, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) issued a secret intelligence report showing that Uribe “worked for the Medellin [drug] cartel” and is “a close personal friend of Pablo Escobar Gaviria,” the notorious drug lord. Uribe continues to be linked to a variety of scandals and human rights abuses during his presidency. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015) (The New York Review of Books, 1/30/2016) (The Wall Street Journal, 2/14/2008)
From 2004 to 2006, the foundation’s annual revenue more than doubles, from $58 million to $134 million. The Washington Post will later say that from this time forward, the Foundation will become the “public face” and “the center of the Clintons’ public and professional lives,” as well as an eventual “springboard for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign,” both in 2008 and 2016. (The Washington Post, 6/2/2015)
Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra and former US President Bill Clinton meet with Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan. Clinton publicly expresses support for Nazarbayev’s bid to head the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. This undercuts US foreign policy against that bid, due to Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record and flawed elections.
Two days later, Giustra’s company signs agreements giving it the right to buy shares of three uranium projects controlled by the Kazakh government. The New York Times will later report, “The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.”
Several months later, the Clinton Foundation will get a $31 million donation from Giustra that will remain secret until it is discovered by reporters in 2008. Both Clinton and Giustra will later claim that this chain of events was merely coincidental. However, Moukhtar Dzhakishev, the head of the Kazakh government company, will later say that Giustra did discuss the deal with President Nazarbayev, and Giustra’s friendship with Clinton “of course made an impression.”
Giustra’s company will be sold for $3.1 billion in February 2007, despite being worth only a small fraction of that prior to the Kazakhstan deal. Dzhakishev will meet in private with Clinton and Giustra in Clinton’s New York house the same month Giustra’s company is sold. Both Giustra and Clinton will deny that such a meeting ever took place. But after reporters point to other accounts of the meeting, both of them will say they remember it after all. (The New York Times, 1/30/2008)
Later in 2007, Giustra and Clinton will cofound a Canadian branch of the Clinton Foundation called the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP). In 2015, it will be alleged this in fact is a “slush fund” allowing foreigners to anonymously donate money to the Clinton Foundation in hopes of getting political influence with the Clintons. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)
In September 2005, Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra and former US President Bill Clinton met with Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan. A couple of days later, after Clinton made public comments praising Kazakhstan despite its poor human rights record and flawed elections, Giustra was able to buy shares in a company owned by the Kazakh government. By 2007, Giustra’s company owning those shares will increase in value by at least $2 billion.
Then, sometime in early 2006, Giustra secretly donates $31 million to the Clinton Foundation. When it shows up in tax records, the foundation will claim that it was an aggregate of small contributions. However, after pressure due to Hillary Clinton running for president in 2007, in December 2007 Giustra will admit that he was the donor. (The New York Times, 4/29/2015)
Despite this controversy and public correction, in December 2008, when the Clinton Foundation publishes its list of donors for the first time, it will list Giustra as having donated between $10 and $25 million, a range clearly less than $31 million. (The Clinton Foundation, 12/18/2008)
It is reported that Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra told a reporter, “All of my chips, almost, are on Bill Clinton. He’s a brand, a worldwide brand, and he can do things and ask for things that no one else can.” (The New Yorker, 9/18/2006)
In 2007, Giustra and Clinton will cofound the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), a Canadian charity that is an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation.
In 2015, it will be alleged that the CGEP operates as a “slush fund” for the Clintons. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)
Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra and former president Bill Clinton launch the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), a Canadian charity that is an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation. The CGEP will become known for many charitable works, including funding relief efforts after a 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
However, investigative journalist Ken Silverstein will allege in a 2015 Harper’s Magazine article that the CGEP is actually a “slush fund” for the Clintons. He will write that CGEP “has been moving significant sums of money into the Clinton Foundation’s flagship in New York. There’s no way for the public to know precisely how much total money the CGEP has taken in over the years—or how much it has forwarded on to the Clinton Foundation—because, unlike in the United States, under Canadian non-profit law charities don’t need to report donors to tax authorities.” Nearly all the donors to the CGEP are unknown. It is also unknown how much CGEP has given the Clinton Foundation, except that it ranks in the top donor class of $25 million or more.
Charles Ortel, an independent financial expert, will say, “There are no effective controls over the Clinton Foundation or the [CGEP]. No independent party has had access to the bank account records, including wire transfer records. There are no independent directors ensuring compliance with the law. Only a fool would have any confidence in their numbers; it’s like Al Capone forming a foundation.”
An unnamed “money-laundering expert and former intelligence officer based in the Middle East who had access to the Foundation’s confidential banking information” will claim that members of royal families in the Middle East and officials in corrupt governments around the world donate money to the CGEP, which is then sent to the Clinton Foundation. For instance, “Equatorial Guinea doesn’t give to the Clinton Foundation in New York because it’s too embarrassing [for the Clintons]. They give the money anonymously in Canada and that buys them political protection in the United States. The Clinton Foundation is a professionally structured money-laundering operation. […] I can’t say for certain that it’s illegal because I don’t have access to all the financial information but at best they are skating along the edge.” The source concludes that if one puts together all the known evidence, “it’s obvious that the Foundation is a fraud.”
The Clinton Foundation will fail to disclose an account linked to the CGEP on eight consecutive tax returns, including the time Hillary Clinton is secretary of state. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)
Aides to former President Bill Clinton start a Canadian charity called “the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada)” or the CGEPC. This is very similar to but separate from another Bill Clinton-related Canadian charity simply named the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) that was formed two months earlier. All the donations from both charities seem to get forwarded to the Clinton Foundation.
The New York Times will later report that the CGEPC “effectively shielded the identities of donors who gave more than $33 million…despite a pledge of transparency when Hillary Rodham Clinton became secretary of state.”
The Clinton Foundation will later claim that the CGEPC, like the CGEP, was created by Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra to allow Canadian donors to get a tax break for supporting the Clinton Foundation’s work. But the New York Times will later report, “However, interviews with tax lawyers and officials in Canada cast doubt on assertions that the partnership was necessary to confer a tax benefit; an examination shows that for many donors it was not needed, and in any event, since 2010, Canadians could have donated to the foundation directly and received the same tax break. Also, it is not at all clear that privacy laws prohibit the partnership from disclosing its donors, the tax lawyers and officials in Canada said.” (The New York Times, 4/29/2015)
On September 20, 2007, with Hillary Clinton running for president, her husband Bill Clinton says of his work with the Clinton Foundation and his presidential library, “Now we don’t have to publish all of our donors, for example, and if Hillary became president, I think there would be all these questions about whether people would try to win favor with her by giving money to me. You know it wouldn’t work, and I don’t think they would. Still, there are legitimate questions.” (The Economist, 9/20/2007)
Seven days later, he says, “If she becomes president…I will disclose all the donors to our library and activities. For the people that have already given me money, I don’t think I should disclose it unless there is some conflict of which I am aware, and there is not.” (The Washington Post, 9/28/2007)
An IP address associated with the clintonemail.com domain later used by Hillary Clinton is registered to “Eric Hoteham” on this date. The IP address for clintonemail.com, along with others registered in Hoteham’s name, is connected to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s home address in Chappaqua, New York. ABC News will later call Hoteham a “mystery man,” since no one with that name is known to exist.
He may or may not be the same as the similarly named Eric Hothem who worked for Bill Clinton when he was president, was an aide for Hillary Clinton in the early 2000s, and has worked for Citicorp and then JP Morgan since. That person has refused to comment on the matter. (ABC News, 3/5/2015) (ABC News, 3/6/2015)
On the same day “Eric Hoteham” (who is probably a Clinton associate named Eric Hothem) registers clintonemail.com for the private server in the Chappaqua house where Bill and Hillary Clinton live, he registers two other domain names: wjcoffice.com and presidentclinton.com. “WJC” most likely stands for Bill Clinton’s full name “William Jefferson Clinton.” The FBI will later determine that this “was primarily a legacy domain that contained mostly forwarded email.” But presidentclinton.com will be used for email accounts of Clinton Foundation employees and other employees of President Clinton.
These other two domains are also based in Clinton’s house, on the same server that will become infamous for containing all of Hillary Clinton’s emails during her tenure as secretary of state. Apparently, the server won’t become operational until around June 2008.
Bil Clinton doesn’t maintain an email account on the server. His wife Hillary won’t start using an email account on the server until January 2009. (ABC News, 3/5/2015) (The New York Times, 3/4/2015) (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
According to the FBI, around 2007, Justin Cooper purchased an Apple OS X server. Cooper is a personal aide to former President Bill Clinton at the time. On February 1, 2008, the domain names clintonemail.com, wjcoffice.com, and presidentclinton.com were registered, but apparently the server that uses them won’t be operational until a few months later. The server is physically located in a house in Chappaqua, New York, where Bill and Hillary Clinton live.
The server consists of an Apple Power Macintosh G4 or G5 tower and an HP printer. According to Cooper, around June 2008, an Apple employee installs the server in the basement of the Chappaqua house. Cooper is the only person with administrative access to the server. However, the Clinton family and their house staff have physical access to it.
Hillary Clinton uses her att.blackberry.net email account as her primary email address until around mid-to-late January 2009 when she will switch to a newly created firstname.lastname@example.org account hosted on this server. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Since it began in 1997, the Clinton Foundation had never revealed who its donors were, as it is not legally required to do so. But on this day, with conflict of interest an increasing issue due to Hillary Clinton about to become President Obama’s secretary of state, the foundation releases its list of donors for the first time. Over 200,000 people and entities gave over $500 million to the foundation since it was created. Some of these donations do show conflict of interest concerns, especially in relation to Hillary’s new secretary of state role.
In 2015, the Washington Post will report that the 2008 list of donors “included foreign governments, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which could ask the State Department to take their side in international arguments. And it included a variety of other figures who might benefit from a relationship—or the appearance of a relationship—with the secretary. A businessman close to the ruler of Nigeria. Blackwater Training Center, a controversial military contractor. And dozens of powerful American business leaders, including some prominent conservatives, such as Rupert Murdoch.” Additionally, “It appeared that some wealthy donors—who traveled with [Bill] Clinton or attended his events—also had made valuable business connections at the same time.” For instance, Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra “attended Clinton-related events and met the leaders of Kazakhstan and Colombia, countries where he would later make significant business deals.” (The Washington Post, 6/2/2015) (The New York Times, 12/18/2008)
Former US Treasury Department official Matthew Levitt says donations from “countries where [the US has] particularly sensitive issues and relations” will invariably raise conflict of interest concerns. “The real question is to what extent you can really separate the activities and influence of any husband and wife, and certainly a husband and wife team that is such a powerhouse.”
Hillary Clinton’s spokesperson says the disclosure of donors should ensure that there would be “not even the appearance of a conflict of interest.” (The New York Times, 12/18/2008)
A few other Clinton associates also get email accounts through Hillary Clinton’s clintonemail.com private server, though the exact total is unknown. Other associates use other private email accounts for government work.
- Hillary Clinton’s daughter Chelsea Clinton has an account under the pseudonym “Diane Reynolds,” to help her travel incognito. (Politico, 3/5/2015)
- Deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin, whom the New York Times has called a “surrogate daughter” for Hillary, uses a email@example.com address. (Bloomberg News, 3/6/2015)
- Hillary’s husband Bill Clinton does not have an email address, even though the server is in the house he lives in. According to a 2015 account, Bill Clinton has almost never used email. (Bloomberg News, 3/11/2015)—however, another 2015 news article will say that’s almost certainly untrue. (The Atlantic, 3/12/2015)
- Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills does not have an account on the server, but uses firstname.lastname@example.org, a private email account through Google. (Judicial Watch, 9/14/2015)
- Philippe Reines, Clinton’s senior advisor and press secretary, has two email accounts, and uses both for work. He has a government account and a private Gmail account (email@example.com). (Politico, 10/5/2015)
Clinton wants to hire Sid Blumenthal as an official national security adviser in the State Department. Blumenthal had worked in President Bill Clinton’s White House in the 1990s, then had been a journalist, then joined Clinton’s presidential campaign as a senior adviser in 2007. However, Obama bans him from any government job.
According to a 2015 Politico article, “Obama aides were convinced that Blumenthal spread false personal and policy rumors about Obama during the battle between Clinton and Obama for the Democratic nomination.” When Clinton is asked in 2015 if the White House banned her from hiring Blumenthal, she won’t dispute it. (Politico, 10/22/2015) (Politico, 1/8/2016)
Blumenthal will soon get a full-time job at the Clinton Foundation with a $120,000 a year salary. For the duration of Clinton’s time as secretary of state, he will frequently email her intelligence information that he will later claim came from Tyler Drumheller, a CIA agent until 2005. (Politico, 5/28/2015)
Sid Blumenthal is paid about $120,000 a year as a full-time employee of the Clinton Foundation. He gets the job in early 2009 at the behest of former President Bill Clinton, who employed him in the White House in the 1990s. He keeps the job until March 2015, the same month that the Clinton email scandal first becomes news.
Blumenthal is a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and a journalist. He appears to have been a private citizen without a security clearance since the 1990s. Yet for the duration of Clinton’s time as secretary of state, and while he is being paid by the Clinton Foundation, he frequently emails her with intelligence information and advice. His foundation job doesn’t seem to have anything to do with any of the foundation’s charitable works.
According to Politico, “While Blumenthal’s foundation job focused on highlighting the legacy of [Bill] Clinton’s presidency, some officials at the charity questioned his value and grumbled that his hiring was a favor from the Clintons, according to people familiar with the foundation.”
In 2011, Blumenthal has a business relationship with two companies, Osprey Global Solutions and Constellations Group, trying to get government contracts to assist US-supported rebels in Libya that year.
After March 2015, Blumenthal will be a paid consultant to American Bridge and Media Matters, two groups supporting Clinton’s presidential campaign that are run by David Brock, an ally of both Clinton and Blumenthal. Politico will later comment, “Blumenthal’s concurrent work for the foundation, the Brock groups, and a pair of businesses seeking potentially lucrative contracts in Libya underscores the blurred lines between her State Department work and that of her family’s charitable and political enterprises.” (Politico, 5/28/2015)
When Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Clintons agreed with the White House that State Department ethics officials would review all offers for Bill Clinton to give paid speeches, to avoid potential conflicts of interest. When the first few speech requests come in, Jim Thessin, the department’s top ethics approver, writes in an email: “In future requests, I would suggest including a statement listing whether or not any of the proposed sponsors of a speaking event have made a donation to the Clinton Foundation and, if so, the amount and date.”
However, Politico will report in 2015, “released documents show no evidence that the question was addressed.” (Politico, 2/25/2015)
Douglas Band starts a lucrative corporate consulting firm named Teneo. Band is a longtime personal assistant to Bill Clinton, as well as his “surrogate son,” and a top leader of the Clinton Foundation. Bill Clinton joins Teneo as a paid adviser. The New York Times will later report that no outside business has “drawn more scrutiny in Clinton circles than Teneo. […] Aspiring to merge corporate consulting, public relations and merchant banking in a single business, Mr. Band poached executives from Wall Street, recruited other Clinton aides to join as employees or advisers, and set up shop in a Midtown [Manhattan] office formerly belonging to one of the country’s top hedge funds.” The firm recruits clients who are also Clinton Foundation donors, and encourages other clients to donate to the foundation. Teneo’s marketing materials highlight its links to Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. The Times will later report, “Some Clinton aides and foundation employees began to wonder where the foundation ended and Teneo began.”
Bill Clinton will end his paid role in March 2012 after a controversy over one of Teneo’s clients that allegedly upset Hillary Clinton. Band will leave his paid position with the foundation in late 2010, but he will continue to have a key role in the Clinton Global Initiative, one of the foundation’s major projects. (The New York Times, 8/13/2013)
Band will finally resign from all his remaining Clinton Foundation positions in May 2015, around the time a book called Clinton, Inc. comes out that is critical of links between Teneo and the Clinton Foundation, and also just weeks before Hillary Clinton will begin her second presidential campaign. (The New York Post, 6/21/2015)
Clinton writes a formal letter to Jim Thessin, who is a deputy legal adviser and “designated agency ethics official” for the State Department. In it, she states, “To avoid even the appearance of a conflict” of interest, she and her husband Bill Clinton are “voluntarily taking steps that go above and beyond the requirements of the law and ethics regulations with respect to [Bill’s] personal income earned from speeches and consulting as well as respect to the William J. Clinton Foundation and its initiatives.”
She goes on to list in detail more pledges to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. Regarding the Clinton Foundation, she writes: “For the duration of my appointment as Secretary [of State] if I am confirmed, I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter involving specific parties in which The William J. Clinton Foundation (or the Clinton Global Initiative) is a party or represents a party…”
She concludes with a catch-all, “Finally, I will recuse myself from participation on a case by case basis in any particular matter in which, in my judgment, I determine that a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would question my impartiality…” (US Senate, 1/5/2009)
Just prior to Hillary Clinton’s Senate confirmation hearing for secretary of state, Justin Cooper registers three email domains for Hillary Clinton at her Chappaqua, New York, address. One domain, clintonemail.com, will be used for all of Clinton’s emails for at least the next five years. (The Washington Post, 3/10/2015) (The New York Times, 8/8/2015)
Cooper is a long-time personal assistant to Bill Clinton. However, he has “no security clearance and no particular expertise in safeguarding computers, according to three people briefed on the server setup.” (The Washington Post, 8/4/2015)
Under pressure from the White House to avoid a conflict of interest with Hillary Clinton’s new position as secretary of state, former US President Bill Clinton agrees to step away from direct involvement in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a yearly fundraising conference. He will continue serving as CGI’s chairperson, but will not solicit money or sponsorships. Additionally, CGI will cease accepting foreign contributions and will not host events outside the US. (The Associated Press, 1/18/2009)
Bill Clinton also collects $26 million in speaking fees from Clinton Foundation donors. These numbers will be calculated by Vox in 2015. Vox will comment that no one “has produced anything close to evidence of a quid pro quo in which Hillary Clinton took official action in exchange for contributions to the Clinton Foundation.”
However, “public records alone reveal a nearly limitless supply of cozy relationships between the Clintons and companies with interests before the government. […] That’s not illegal, but it is scandalous.” Vox adds, “Ultimately, it is impossible to tell where one end of the two-headed Clinton political and philanthropic operation ends and where the other begins.” (Vox, 4/28/2015)
The department has to authorize all such sales, and can turn them down for a variety of reasons, such as documented human rights abuses in those countries. But the department authorizes $151 billion in military sales to the 16 countries that are large donors to the foundation, a 143% increase to those nations compared to the last four years of the Bush administration.
By comparison, military sales to all countries, including those countries, increase 80% during the same time period. US defense contractors also donate heavily to the Clinton Foundation during this time, as well as paying for speeches given by Bill Clinton.
Many countries the State Department approves for these sales are also criticized by the department for various problems such as corruption, political repression, and poor cooperation on terrorism. Such countries include Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. The 16 large donor countries give between $54 million and $141 million combined to the Clinton Foundation during this time, as well as paying big speaking fees to Bill Clinton.
Meredith McGehee, policy director at the non-profit Campaign Legal Center, will later say, “The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation. This shows why having public officials, or even spouses of public officials, connected with these non-profits is problematic.”
Gregory Suchan, who was a State Department official for over 30 years, will say that while foreign governments and defense contractors may not have made donations to the foundation exclusively to influence weapons sales, they were clearly “looking to build up deposits in the ‘favor bank’ and to be well thought of.” (The International Business Times, 5/26/2015)
Meanwhile, Boeing and the foreign countries involved in the deals donate to the Clinton Foundation and pay for speeches given by Bill Clinton.
- In early 2009, Clinton begins working with Boeing to open up new business in Russia. Later in the year, Clinton visits Russia and makes what she describes as a “shameless pitch” to a Russian airline to buy Boeing passenger jets. In 2010, Boeing gets the deal, selling 50 jets worth $3.7 billion.
- In 2009, China is preparing to host the 2010 world’s fair. However, it seems the US exhibit promoting US businesses will have to be cancelled, since the private fundraising efforts are going poorly. A State Department official warns that there likely will be “extremely widespread” consequences to both diplomatic and commercial interests if the US effort fails. Emails show that Clinton and other State Department officials push Boeing and other US companies to donate, and Boeing eventually gives $2 million, helping make the exhibit a success. US exposition organizer Nick Winslow will later say that he didn’t feel any political pressure, but, “Knowing that it was important to the State Department, did that help? Of course it did.”
- In August 2010, Boeing donates $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation to support education projects in Haiti.
- In February 2011, Boeing wins a $35 billion tanker-refueling contract for the US Air Force. Clinton had supported the bid. When she hears Boeing won, she writes in an email, “I’m pleased.”
- In 2011, the State Department approves a series of weapons deals between Boeing and the government of Kuwait. For instance, Boeing is the prime contractor in a $690 million deal to give Kuwait military transport planes.
- Later in 2011, Bill Clinton is paid $175,000 by the Kuwait America Foundation for a speech. Boeing is a sponsor of the event. Kuwait also continues to donate millions to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary is secretary of state.
- In late 2011, Clinton’s State Department approves an enormous weapons deal for Saudi Arabia. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing will deliver $30 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to that country, including 84 new F-15 fighter jets built by Boeing. The deal takes place despite strong opposition from Israel, as well as concerns about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and lack of democracy. But according to a State Department official, Clinton made the deal a personal “top priority.”
- Saudi Arabia is prohibited from donating money to the Clinton Foundation during her time as secretary of state as part of a deal Clinton signed with the White House in 2008. But in previous years, the Saudi government gave at least $10 million to foundation. Additionally, private Saudi citizens and Saudi royals give millions to the foundation while she is in office. Then the Saudi government resumes donating to the foundation after she leaves office.
In early 2012, the State Department helps Boeing secure major deals in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
- In July 2012, Boeing pays Bill Clinton $250,000 for a speech.
- In September 2012, Bill Clinton gives another speech sponsored by Boeing. He is paid $200,000.
- In 2013, Boeing sponsored an event in St. Louis called Clinton Global Initiative University. It’s not clear how much Boeing donates, but it gives between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, and the event is part of the foundation’s work.
- In 2014, Boeing chief lobbyist Tim Keating hosts a fundraiser on behalf of Clinton’s anticipated 2016 presidential campaign. (The Seattle Times, 3/21/2016) (Politico, 4/15/2015) (The Wall Street Journal, 3/19/2015) (The International Business Times, 5/26/2015)
Lisa Gilbert, of the government integrity watchdog group Public Citizen, will later say that what the Clintons were doing likely was not illegal. However, it seems “unsavory.” (The Seattle Times, 3/21/2016) Similar patterns can be seen with other US weapons manufacturers, like Lockheed, and other foreign governments, like Oman and Qatar. Lawrence Lessig, the director of Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics, will later say, “These continuing revelations raise a fundamental question of judgment. Can it really be that the Clintons didn’t recognize the questions these transactions would raise? And if they did, what does that say about their sense of the appropriate relationship between private gain and public good?” (The International Business Times, 5/26/2015)
According to ABC News in 2015, “Where he once had drawn $150,000 for a typical address in the years following his presidency, [Bill] saw a succession of staggering paydays for speeches in 2010 and 2011, including $500,000 paid by a Russian investment bank and $750,000 to address a telecom conference in China.” Furthermore, many of the groups paying him higher fees have interests pending before Hillary’s State Department. However, there is no direct proof that Hillary takes any direct action to benefit the groups paying her husband.
Before becoming secretary of state, she agreed to a process whereby State Department ethics officials would review and approve her husband’s speaking requests. But ABC News will report, “In practice, there were few if any instances where ethics officials inside the State Department asked the former president to refuse to accept payment for a speech.” (ABC News, 4/23/2015)
Bill Clinton seeks approval from the State Department for 3 three-year consulting arrangements, and he wants an answer for all 3 within five days. Due to a deal with the White House, he needs to get approval from department ethics officials while his wife Hillary is secretary of state. All three deals are with companies headed by Bill’s longtime friends:
- Shangri-La Industries, led by California investor Steve Bing.
- Wasserman Investments, led by entertainment executive Casey Wasserman.
- Saban Capital Group, led by entertainment executive and multi-billionaire Haim Saban.
For all three deals, Clinton would be paid for general advice but not specific investment advice, since that could come from his knowledge of his wife’s work as secretary of state.
Two of the deals are quickly approved, but the Saban deal meets resistance by department lawyers. Jim Thessin, the department’s top ethics approver, writes in an email to Bill Clinton’s office, “We have an objection to the [Saban Capital Group proposal] based on the fact that Haim Saban, a founder of this entity, is actively involved in foreign affairs issues, particularly with regard to the Middle East, which is a priority area for the Secretary.” As a result, the Saban deal does not get approved. However, Saban had donated generously to the Clinton Foundation and he continues to do so, giving $7 million in 2010 and 2011, and more after that. (Politico, 2/25/2015)
In a May 2010 article, Saban will explain that his main political interest is supporting right-wing political parties in Israel by influencing US politics. He lists three ways he does this: making donations to political parties, establishing think tanks, and controlling media outlets. (The New Yorker, 5/10/2010)
In 2007, a whistleblower gave information about thousands of US citizens who were putting money in Swiss mega-bank UBS to avoid paying US taxes. The IRS [Internal Revenue Service] sues UBS to learn the identities of US citizens with secret bank accounts. UBS faces either complying and violating strict Swiss banking secrecy laws, or refusing and facing criminal charges in a US court.
The US government decides to treat this as a political matter with the Swiss government instead of just a legal problem with the bank. In March 2009, Clinton meets with Swiss officials and brings up a number of unrelated issues where the US wants help from Switzerland, such as using Swiss neutrality to help release a US citizen imprisoned in Iran. The Swiss help with these other issues, and appear to get concessions in the UBS case in return.
On July 31, 2009, Clinton announces a legal settlement: the US government dismisses the IRS lawsuit, and UBS turns over data on only 4,450 accounts instead of the 52,000 accounts worth $18 billion wanted by the IRS.
Some US politicians criticize the deal. For instance, Senator Carl Levin (D), says, “It is disappointing that the US government went along.” A senior IRS official will later complain that many US citizens escaped scrutiny due to the deal.
UBS then helps the Clintons in various ways:
- Total UBS donations to the Clinton Foundation grow from less than $60,000 through 2008 to about $600,000 by the end of 2014.
- Starting in early 2010, UBS works with the foundation to launch entrepreneurship and inner-city loan programs, and lends the programs $32 million. In 2012, the foundation will tout these programs as one of their major accomplishments.
- UBS gives the foundation $100,000 for a charity golf tournament.
- In 2011, UBS pays Bill Clinton $350,000 for discussing the economy at a UBS event.
- Also in 2011, UBS pays Bill Clinton $1.5 million to take part in eleven question and answer sessions with a UBS official, making UBS his largest corporate source of speech income.
In 2015, the Wall Street Journal will comment, “there is no evidence of any link between Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in the case and the bank’s donations to [the foundation], or its hiring of Mr. Clinton. But her involvement with UBS is a prime example of how the Clintons’ private and political activities overlap.”
Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard law professor and Democrat, will say of the Clintons, “They’ve engaged in behavior to make people wonder: What was this about? Was there something other than deciding the merits of these cases?” (The Wall Street Journal, 7/30/2015)
The Atlantic magazine will comment, “If you’re Bill Clinton and your wife has recently intervened in her capacity as a cabinet secretary to help a giant corporation avert a significant threat to its bottom-line, the very least you could do, if only to avoid the appearance of impropriety, is to avoid negotiating seven-figure paydays with that same corporation. [The fact he didn’t do that] is particularly jaw-dropping because ultra-wealthy Bill Clinton has virtually unlimited opportunities to give lucrative speeches to any number of audiences not directly implicated by decisions that his wife made as secretary of state.” (The Atlantic, 7/31/2015)
Douglas Band sends an email with the subject heading “A favor” to Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills and Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin. At the time, Band is both working for the Clinton Foundation and serving as a personal aide to former President Bill Clinton. Band writes that it was “important to take care of” – but the name of the person and several following lines of text are later redacted.
Abedin responds, “We have all had him on our radar. Personnel has been sending him options.” The person may somehow be related to Clinton Foundation work being done in Haiti, because Band’s email includes a forward of an email from a person whose name is redacted, but who had just returned from a trip to Haiti involving charity work.
Upon becoming secretary of state earlier in 2009, Clinton promised to avoid any possible conflict of interest between State Department work and Clinton Foundation work. (CBS News, 8/10/2016) (US Department of State, 6/30/2016)
Douglas Band sends an email to Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills and Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin. At the time, Band is both working for the Clinton Foundation and serving as a personal aide to former President Bill Clinton. Band asks for the State Department’s “substance person” in Lebanon to contact Gilbert Chagoury. “As you know, he’s key guy there and to us and is loved in Lebanon. Very imp [important].”
Abedin responds that the “substance person” Is “Jeff Feltman,” a former US ambassador to Lebanon. “I’m sure he knows him. I’ll talk to Jeff.”
Fifteen minutes later, Band sends another email to Abedin, writing, “Better if you call him. Now preferable. This is very important.” After some redacted text, he adds, “He’s awake I’m sure.”
(US Department of State, 6/30/2016)
CBS News will late call Chagoury “a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire philanthropist who was one of the Clinton Foundation’s top donors.” He gave between $1 and $5 million to the foundation. In addition, he pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative. He was convicted in 2000 in Switzerland for money laundering, but agreed to a plea deal and repaid $66 million.
Upon becoming secretary of state earlier in 2009, Clinton promised to avoid any possible conflict of interest between State Department work and Clinton Foundation work. (Judicial Watch, 8/12/2016) (CBS News, 8/10/2016)
In August 2016, a spokesperson for Chagoury will claim that Chagoury had been seeking to contact someone in the State Department to offer his perspective on the coming elections in Lebanon, and had not been seeking official action by the State Department. (Politico, 8/11/2016)
Clinton confidant and private citizen Sid Blumenthal sends Clinton an email with the subject heading, “My role, Germany, Iran, etc.” He writes: “I spoke with Doug Band yesterday, discussed things with him, and we will go from there. It would be helpful if you and I speak soon to define parameters of what projects I should pursue. We should discuss your speech to the Council, among other things.”
Band is a close personal aide to Hillary’s husband Bill Clinton, and also works at the Clinton Foundation. Blumenthal then writes about other matters relating to Germany and Iran. Clinton speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) two weeks later. (US Department of State, 12/31/2015) (US Department of State, 6/30/2015)
In May 2015, Clinton will downplay the link between herself and Blumenthal when she was secretary of state, saying, “He sent me unsolicited emails which I passed on in some instances.” Blumenthal is paid a $120,000 yearly salary by the Clinton Foundation despite not doing any charity work there, but Clinton will deny that is compensation for his emailed intelligence reports. (Real Clear Politics, 5/20/2015)
On October 17, 2009, Clinton sends an email to her chief of staff Cheryl Mills and Jon Davidson, Bill Clinton’s deputy chief of staff. The subject heading is “Haiti,” and the full text is: “I’ve heard that both the PM [prime minister] and the finance minister will resign next week. I’m copying Jon so he can tell Bill.” (US Department of State, 6/30/2015)
The next day, Mills forwards a message from Kenneth Merten, the State Department’s special coordinator for Haiti, to Clinton and Davidson. The subject heading is “PML,” but most of the several lines of text will later be redacted except for the comment, “I’ll have more (most likely) tomorrow.” The redaction codes will indicate the message contains “foreign government information” and “foreign relations or foreign activities of the US, including confidential sources.” (US Department of State, 7/31/2015)
Haiti’s prime minister, Michèle Pierre-Louis, will be voted out of office on November 11, 2009. Davidson is not a government employee at the time and it is unknown if he has a security clearance.
In 2012, WikiLeaks publishes over five million e-mails from the US-based private intelligence company Stratfor. Stratfor provides confidential intelligence to major corporations and branches of the US government.
At some unknown point in either 2010 or 2011, Bart Mongoven, vice president for Stratfor’s public policy intelligence group, writes in an email to Rodger Baker, Stratfor’s vice president of geopolitical analysis: “[Bill] Clinton’s biggest project on climate change comes through the Clinton Global Initiative, which has climate among its top priorities. The CGI acts as a funnel for money from wealthy individuals and corporations toward programs and policies that Clinton supports (or that support his or his wife’s political objectives). CGI has raised more than $100 million for climate change organizations. […] CGI and the Clinton Foundation are suspected of being shakedown operations for the Clintons, and especially for Hillary Clinton from 2001 to 2008. If a corporation wanted to be on the Clintons’ good side, it had to show up at CGI or give money to the foundation. The money from CGI or the foundation would go to non-profits that promoted issues of importance to Hillary Clinton’s political calculus. In other words, if she needed something to be an important national issue, he would pressure a corporation or billionaire to fund activists who would promote the issue that she needed. CGI has been a good way to read the tea leaves on Hillary Clinton, and it may still be. Either way, the future priorities of CGI are important to understand. Other, less cynical people, say that the CGI and the Clinton Foundation are simple, well-meaning organizations dedicated to funding good works and making the world a better place. (I’ll let you come to your own conclusions.)” (WikiLeaks, 10/19/2012)
Around January 14, 2010, the Algerian government donates $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Algeria has never donated to the foundation before, which means this is a violation of the 2008 “memorandum of understanding” between the foundation and the Obama White House, which prohibited new or increased donations from foreign governments as long as Clinton is the secretary of state.
The donation is direct aid to assist relief efforts just days after a large earthquake in Haiti that killed thousands. It also coincides with a spike in Algeria’s lobbying visits to the State Department. In 2010, Algeria spends $400,000 lobbying US officials on Algeria’s human rights record and US-Algeria relations. (The Washington Post, 2/25/2015)
The next year, Clinton’s State Department will approve a 70% increase in military export authorizations to Algeria, despite continued issues with the country’s human rights records. For the first time, the department will authorize the sale of almost 50,000 items classified as “toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment.” The sale of US military weapons to Algeria is $2.4 billion, triple what it was in the last four years of the previous Bush administration. (The International Business Times, 5/26/2015)
In June 2015, shortly after the Algerian donation is finally made public, former President Bill Clinton will comment on it, “[Critics] said, ‘Oh you got $500,000 from Algeria at very same time they were lobbying the State Department.’ Those two facts are accurate but if you put them back-to-back they are incredibly misleading. Here’s why: I never considered that the Algerians gave me the money.” (The International Business Times, 5/26/2015) He will add, “Two days after the Haiti earthquake…there were very few countries in the world I would not accept from for help to Haiti. […] [T]here may be a thing or two that I would change, but the basic idea, I think it is right. I still think it is the right thing to do.” (CNN, 6/11/2015)
Clinton confidante Sid Blumenthal email Clinton his latest intelligence report, this one regarding high-level intrigues inside the British government. Like many of his emails, it is marked “CONFIDENTIAL,” the lowest official classification level. Clinton comments, “I shared your emails w Bill who thought they were ‘brilliant’! Keep ’em coming when you can.” “Bill” is a likely reference to Hillary’s husband Bill Clinton. (US Department of State, 8/31/2015)
In May 2015, Clinton will dramatically downplay her enthusiasm for Blumenthal’s emails, merely saying, “He sent me unsolicited emails which I passed on in some instances.” (Real Clear Politics, 5/20/2015)
While running for president in 2008, both Clinton and Senator Barack Obama (D) publicly opposed a US trade deal with Colombia, the United States–Colombia Free Trade Promotion Agreement, due to human rights violations there.
In June 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her husband former President Bill Clinton, and Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra meet with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in Colombia. Giustra has developed business ties worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Colombia after repeated meetings with Uribe and Bill Clinton. Giustra also has donated tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Uribe has been widely criticized for human rights abuses.
Representative Jim McGovern (D) warns Hillary in a private email that “while in Colombia, the most important thing the Secretary can do is to avoid effusive praise for President Alvaro Uribe.” But Hillary ignores this warning. After the dinner, she gives a public speech in which she praises Uribe as an “essential partner to the United States” whose “commitment to building strong democratic institutions here in Colombia” would “leave a legacy of great progress that will be viewed in historic terms.”
She also publicly supports the US trade deal, a deal which would greatly benefit Giustra and other US investors in Colombia. In 2011, workers for the Giustra-owned Pacific Rubiales company in Colombia go on strike. There are allegations they are forced to live and work in “concentration camp-like” conditions. However, the Colombian military uses force and breaks the strike. By this time, Giustra has donated $130 million to the Clinton Foundation.
Clinton’s State Department certifies that Colombia is “meeting statutory criteria related to human rights,” despite widespread evidence to the contrary, and Clinton and now President Obama decide to support the trade deal they had opposed. Later in 2011, the trade deal passes Congress and becomes law. This is followed by more donations from both Giustra and Pacific Rubiales to the Clinton Foundation. (The Hill, 4/9/2015) (The New York Review of Books,1/30/2016)
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) is a yearly conference connected to the Clinton Foundation that helps inspire and arrange donations to solve problems around the world.
At the personal request of Bill Clinton, the September 2010 CGI conference sets up a financial commitment to benefit a for-profit company partly owned by people who have ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton. The company, Energy Pioneer Solutions Inc., is a small start-up that has a business plan to insulate homes and let the owners pay through their monthly utility bills. The company is 29% owned by Scott Kleeb, a Democrat who twice ran for Congress from Nebraska; 29% by Jane Eckert, an art gallery owner; 29% by Julie Tauber McMahon, a close friend of Bill Clinton; 5% by Andrew Tobias, Democratic National Committee treasurer and longtime Clinton friend; and 5% by Mark Weiner, a former Rhode Island Democratic chairman, and also a longtime Clinton friend.
Out of thousands of CGI commitments, this is one of only a handful that involve private individuals making a personal financial investment in a for-profit company, instead of donations to non-profits or charities. The commitment is added to a database at the CGI website, but it will be removed several months later.
The Wall Street Journal will later report, “The reason was to avoid calling attention to Mr. Clinton’s friendship with one company co-owner, Ms. McMahon, and to protect the integrity of Mr. Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, according to people familiar with the matter.” Bill Clinton also personally endorsed the company to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, resulting in a $812,000 grant from the Energy Department that year. The IRS requires that tax-exempt charitable organizations like CGI “must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests.” The $2 million commitment is eventually achieved for the company, although it’s not clear which who gave and by how much. (The Wall Street Journal, 5/12/2016)
In 2014, it will be alleged in some tabloids that McMahon had a prolonged affair will Bill Clinton, roughly from 2001 until 2013, but McMahon will deny it and say they are just close friends. (The Daily Mail, 7/25/2014) (Heavy.com, 8/14/2014)
The White House made a deal when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state that all of former President Bill Clinton’s paid speech offers would be approved by State Department ethics officials.
In mid-November 2011, Bill Clinton’s aides tell department officials about an offer Bill Clinton has received to give a videotaped speech to the Shanghai Sports Development Foundation. This is a charity funded by wealthy Chinese hedge fund manager Kai Jiang. Unlike all previous speech requests, department officials raise concerns. They are worried that the Chinese government might actually be ultimately funding the speech or planning to benefit from it. Department ethics lawyer Chip Brooks writes in an email: “There is something peculiar about [Jiang] paying for a talk that will be to an event sponsored by a Chinese Government entity, even if it is considered to be non-profit by the organization. Can we confirm the payment is actually from Mr. Jiang and not from the [Shanghai Sports Development] Foundation or the Chinese Government?”
However, over the next two weeks, officials struggle to get basic information from Clinton’s aides about the event’s hosts, their possible connections to the Chinese government, and how much Clinton would be paid.
After at least seven back and forth emails, on December 2, 2011, Clinton’s aides tell the department, “We are not going to proceed with this.” But there’s no further explanation why the speech offer is cancelled. Politico will report in 2015 that out of Clinton’s hundreds of speech offers, this “is the only proposed event in the released records for which official questions look to have played a role in scuttling the appearance.” (Politico, 2/25/2015)
Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) CEO Ira Magaziner sends an email to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, Clinton Foundation foreign policy director Amitabh Desai, Douglas Band (an aide to former US President Bill Clinton), and two others, regarding Saudi Arabian and Ethiopian billionaire Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Ali Al-‘Amoud. Magaziner writes: “CHAI would like to request that President Clinton call Sheikh Mohammed to thank him for offering his plane to the conference in Ethiopia and expressing regrets that President Clinton’s schedule does not permit him to attend the conference.”
Desai replies, “Unless Sheikh Mo has sent us a $6 million check, this sounds crazy to do.“
Band then comments, “If he doesn’t do it CHAI will say he didn’t give the money [because] of wjc [Bill Clinton].”
Podesta writes, “I agree with Doug and this seems rather easy and harmless and not a big time sink.”(Wikileaks 10/12/16)
Thus it can be seen Sheikh Mohammed is giving some money to the foundation, though the amount is unknown. Also, the exchange shows Podesta, who has no position in the foundation, helping make foundation decisions.
Bernadette Meehan, a special assistant to Clinton, sends an email to Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin and a few others. Apparently, Clinton is spending Christmas vacation at a resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, as she does every year, and she is having trouble getting an Internet connection for her BlackBerry.
Abedin emails Justin Cooper, an aide to Bill Clinton, about this. She asks, “Are we having problem with clintonemail?”
Cooper says there are “No issues on our end.” But he apparently is not at the Chappaqua, New York, house were the server is, because he adds that he is CCing Oscar Flores and Jon Davidson “who are there to see if they are having trouble.” (US Department of State, 6/20/2016) (The Associated Press, 4/13/2015)
This is further evidence that Cooper, who is not a government employee and apparently has no security clearance, is helping to manage Clinton’s private server. Flores is Bill Clinton’s personal valet and is said to spend a lot of time with him at the Clinton’s Chappaqua, New York, house. (Politico, 9/24/2010) Davidson is Bill Clinton’s deputy chief of staff. (New York Magazine, 4/14/2015)
This raises the possibility that two more people without proper authorization had access to all of Clinton’s emails on her server.
Amitabh Desai, director of foreign policy for the Clinton Foundation, writes in an email to other foundation officials, that he met with Qatar’s ambassador to the US four days earlier, on April 12, 2012. The ambassador is Mohammed Bin Abdullah Bin Mutib Al Rumaihi, who just assumed that position several weeks earlier. (Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 12/26/2013) (WikiLeaks, 10/13/2016)
He summarizes that Al Rumaihi “Would like to see WJC [former President William Jefferson Clinton] ‘for five minutes’ in NYC [New York City], to present $1 million check that Qatar promised for WJC’s birthday in 2011.”
Additionally, “Qatar would welcome our suggestions for investments in Haiti – particularly on education and health. They have allocated most of their $20 million but are happy to consider projects we suggest. I’m collecting input from CF [Clinton Foundation] Haiti team.”
The email is sent to foundation officials Douglas Band, Justin Cooper, Bruce Lindsey, Laura Graham, and Clinton advisor John Podesta. (WikiLeaks, 10/13/2016)
Two years later, on August 19, 2014, Clinton will comment in an email: “[W]e need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” (ISIL is also known as the terrorist group ISIS.) (WikiLeaks, 10/13/2016)
On October 14, 2016, the day after this email is made public by WikiLeaks, Reuters will report that this donation, if it took place, could be a major ethics breach. The donation takes place while Hillary Clinton is secretary of state, and the Clinton Foundation made an agreement with the Obama administration not to accept any increases in donations by foreign governments during that time. The email doesn’t specify that the donation was accepted, or if it went to the foundation or to Bill Clinton personally. Foundation records indicate the Qatar government did give over $1 million, but it isn’t clear when. When asked by Reuters if the donation was accepted by the foundation, a foundation spokesperson will decline to say. (Reuters, 10/14/2016)
Amitabh Desai, a foreign policy director at the Clinton Foundation, emails Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills about an invitation for former President Bill Clinton to be paid $650,000 for speech in North Korea. Desai asks “Is it safe to assume” the US government “would have concerns” about Clinton giving the speech, since North Korea is a strident enemy of the US at the time. Mills simply replies, “Decline it.” Clinton never does speak in North Korea. Three weeks later, Desai writes back to explain that the invite came from Hillary Clinton’s brother Tony Rodham. Further details about the offer are unknown.
Bill Clinton delivers 215 speeches for $48 million in the four years Hillary Clinton is secretary of state and this is one of a very few that anyone in the State Department told him he shouldn’t do. (ABC News, 8/28/2015)
Amitabh Desai, a foreign policy director at the Clinton Foundation, emails Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills about an invitation for former President Bill Clinton to be paid $650,000 for speech in Brazzaville, Congo. Both dictators of Congo and the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) would be attending, and both require photos with Bill Clinton. It is mentioned in the email that the Harry Walker Agency, who helps Clinton coordinate his speeches, says “we anticipate you’ll want us to quickly decline,” especially due to the involvement of the notoriously brutal DRC dictator Joseph Kabila. Furthermore, the DRC is rated as the poorest country in the world, and Clinton’s $650,000 fee would be one of his highest he’s ever been given. But the email notes that Bill Clinton wants to give the speech anyway, with the idea of donating his fee to the Clinton Foundation.
The email is forwarded to other Clinton aides, including Huma Abedin, but not to Hillary Clinton herself. It is not known if the aides advise to go ahead with the speech or not. However, Bill Clinton never gives the speech. (ABC News, 8/28/2015)
A Forbes Magazine article will ask in 2016, “Giving money to charity doesn’t address whether that money was received as a bribe. To answer that key question, one would have to know what foreign leaders wanted in exchange for their donations. After all, Congolese leaders aren’t worried about charitable deductions on their US tax forms. So why did they proffer so much of their poor country’s money?” (Forbes, 4/17/2016)
Former President Bill Clinton is traveling in Africa at the time, including to Rwanda. On July 11, 2012, and then again on July 28, Mills emails information about Rwanda and Congo, a country having a conflict with Rwanda at the time. Details are unclear, because large sections of the emailed information will later be deemed classified and redacted due to “national security” and “foreign policy.” The July 28 message is titled “Developments in the Eastern Congo.”
Mills emails the information to Amitabh Desai, the foundation’s director of foreign policy. Mills was on the foundation’s board of directors before joining the State Department, and will return to its board as soon as she leaves.
Other emails show that she also continues to advise the foundation while working at the State Department. (Politico, 9/30/2015)
On September 13, 2012, two days after US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, Libyan President Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf sends a request to the Clinton Foundation, expressing interest in attending a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting later that month in New York. Foundation official Amitabh Desai then emails Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills for guidance, asking, “Would [the US government] have concerns about Libyan President being invited to CGI? Odd timing, I know.” Mills replies that same day that the State Department “would not have issues.”
On September 17, Desai emails Mills again, specifically asking if al-Magariaf could meet with former President Bill Clinton at the CGI meeting. Mills apparently has no objection, because Desai tells Mills on September 26 that al-Magariaf and Bill Clinton had a ‘very good meeting.” Hillary Clinton also meets al-Magariaf for the first time around this time, on September 24. (LawNewz, 3/22/2016) (US Department of State, 3/14/2016)
Clinton is less than two months away from ending her term as secretary of state. Paul Wester, chief records officer for National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), writes to his NARA co-workers, “We need to discuss what we know, and how we should delicately go about learning more about the transition plans for Secretary Clinton’s departure from State.” He says he has been warned of an effort to move Clinton’s files to Bill Clinton’s presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas.
He adds that a co-worker is “asking questions about what we are doing to make sure everyone leaving the Administration does not leave with Federal records. I told him we are aware of the issue and are working on it.”
Officials at Clinton’s presidential library will later say they never heard of such an effort, and it wouldn’t have been appropriate for the library to house Hillary’s records in any case.
Wester will be interviewed in 2015 and will say the concern was over paper records only. “We had no information or no inkling of any issues with the email matters that have come to our attention more recently.” (Politico, 5/21/2015)
Tania Neild runs a company called InfoGrate that connects very wealthy people with companies who oversee their personal technologies, such as emails, and her company is based only about twenty miles from Clinton’s New York house. (Politico, 11/10/2015) (The Washington Post, 9/5/2015)
An FBI report will later state that “due to user limitations and reliability concerns regarding the [existing] server, staff for [Hillary] Clinton and President [Bill] Clinton discussed future email server options, and a search was initiated to find a vendor to manage a Clinton email server. Additionally, [Clinton’s computer technician Bryan] Pagliano’s expressed desire to seek new employment contributed to the decision to move to a new server.”
Clinton will also be interviewed, and she will recall “that the transition to [a new company] was initiated by President Clinton’s aides seeking a higher level of service than could be provided by the [existing] server.”
Around January 2, 2013, Neild is introduced to Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills through an unnamed mutual business associate. Neild will later tell the FBI that she worked with Mills and Pagliano to produce a proposal to solicit responses from multiple companies. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
January 2013, Platte River Networks, a small company based in Colorado, is told by Neild they are in he running for a new contract. In mid-February, they find out they are a finalist for the contract, and that they might be working for Clinton. They will be hired by Clinton to manage her private server on May 31, 2013. (Politico, 11/10/2015) (The Washington Post, 9/5/2015)
Pagliano will later tell the FBI who made the final decision to pick Platte River. But this person’s name will be redacted, and only identified as someone working for President Clinton. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
In retrospect, the choice of Platte River will seem to be an odd one. Cybersecurity expert Alex McGeorge will later comment, “My big issue here is do you want a small firm with little/no government experience or contracting (according to what’s being reported) and no stated security expertise to be in charge of the email system for our secretary of state? That is fundamentally ridiculous.” (Business Insider, 8/17/2015)
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