1996: Future FBI Director Comey wants to charge Hillary Clinton in the Whitewater investigation.

Cover of Time magazine on April 4, 1994, with the subhead "How the president's men tried to hinder the Whitewater investigation" (Credit: Time Magazine)

Cover of Time magazine on April 4, 1994, with the subhead “How the president’s men tried to hinder the Whitewater investigation” (Credit: Time Magazine)

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.

In 2013, Comey will be appointed director of the FBI, which will make him the de facto head of the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s emails that starts in 2015. (Time, 3/31/2016)

June 2, 1996: Clinton shows a pattern of evasion regarding the Whitewater investigation.

Clinton talks to reporters after testifying before a grand jury investigating Whitewater on January 26, 1996. (Credit: The Associated Press)

Clinton talks to reporters after testifying before a grand jury investigating Whitewater on January 26, 1996. (Credit: The Associated Press)

The Washington Post publishes a front-page story analyzing Hillary Clinton’s public comments about the Whitewater investigation. It concludes, “From the beginning of the Whitewater controversy, Hillary Clinton has maintained a public posture seemingly at odds with her actions. She was reluctant to release records during the 1992 campaign. She fought David Gergen’s recommendation to turn over all the records in 1993. She led White House opposition to the appointment of a special counsel in early 1994. There appears to be a four-year pattern of Hillary Clinton avoiding full disclosure, occasionally forgetting places and events that might embarrass her, and revising her story as documents emerge and the knowledge of her questioners deepens.” (The Washington Post, 6/2/1996)

Bloomberg News will later comment, “The impression that she had something to hide—even when she may not have—was cemented when her Whitewater billing records from her old practice, the Rose Law Firm, mysteriously went missing for two years, then turned up in a reading room in the third-floor residence at the White House.” (Bloomberg News, 3/3/2015)

August 2007: A second Canadian offshoot allows big donations to secretly pass to the Clinton Foundation.

Bill Clinton (left) and Frank Giustra (right) in Haiti in 2014. (Credit: Hector Retamal / Agence France Presse)

Bill Clinton (left) and Frank Giustra (right) in Haiti in 2014. (Credit: Hector Retamal / Agence France Presse)

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)

September 20, 2007: If Hillary becomes president, Bill Clinton would disclose future donors to the Clinton Foundation, but not past ones.

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)

April 15, 2008: Clinton promises transparency.

2008HillaryHumaPoliticoCopy

Clinton closes a cell phone before handing it back to her aide Huma Abedin in 2008. (Credit: Politico)

During Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential campaign, Clinton says that if she is elected, “we will adopt a presumption of openness and [fulfilling] Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] requests and urge agencies to release information quickly.” (The Federation of American Scientists, 4/15/2008)

But the Washington Post will later report that within days of Clinton becoming the secretary of state in early 2009, “Clinton’s senior advisers were already taking steps that would help her circumvent those high-flown words.” (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016)

Early 2009: President Obama bans Blumenthal from a job at the State Department.

The Blumenthals attend a Christmas party at the White House during the early years of Bill Clinton's presidency. (Credit: public domain)

The Blumenthals attend a Christmas party at the White House during the early years of Bill Clinton’s presidency. (Credit: public domain)

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)

January 15, 2009: The Clinton Foundation releases its list of donors for the first time.

Victor Dahdaleh (Credit: Leon Neal / Agence France Presse / Getty Images)

Victor Dahdaleh (Credit: Leon Neal / Agence France Presse / Getty Images)

The foundation is not legally obliged to do so, but there is political pressure, with this being the first day of Hillary Clinton’s Senate confirmation hearing for her to become the next secretary of state.

The list shows that over 200,000 donors gave at least $492 million dollars since the foundation was founded in 1997. Exact contribution amounts are unknown because the list only gives ranges. At least $46 million comes directly from foreign governments such as Saudi Arabia. The foundation promises to reveal all future donors on a yearly basis, and new foreign government donations will be scrutinized by “government ethics officers.” Some donations come from sources that could lead to controversy or conflicts of interest.

For instance, the Blackwater security firm donated between $10,001 to $25,000. The Associated Press notes the company is “at risk of losing its lucrative government contract to protect US diplomats in Iraq.”

The Internet company Yahoo, as well as its top executives Jerry Yang, Frank Biondi, and Terry Semel donated as well. The Associated Press comments that the company has been “involved in disputes over surrendering Internet information to Chinese authorities that led to the imprisonment of dissidents there.”

Also, Victor Dahdaleh gave between $1 million to $5 million. He is a Canadian investor involved in aluminum production. He has been sued for fraud and bribery by a Bahrain aluminum company, and the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation about it. (The Associated Press, 1/18/2009) Dahdaleh will be acquitted in the legal case in 2013. But he will be implicated in a different financial scandal in 2016. (Yahoo Finance, 5/25/2016)

January 21, 2009: President Obama pledges to increase government transparency.

President Obama delivers a speech after being sworn in on January 21, 2009. (Credit: Jim Young / Reuters)

President Obama delivers a speech after being sworn in on January 21, 2009. (Credit: Jim Young / Reuters)

During his swearing-in ceremony, Obama says, “Let me say it as simply as I can. Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

He adds, “Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known. […] The Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] is perhaps the most powerful instrument we have for making our government honest and transparent, and of holding it accountable. And I expect members of my administration not simply to live up to the letter but also the spirit of this law.” (The White House, 1/21/2009)

In November 2016, Slate will comment, “Needless to say, the agencies have not taken this order seriously, nor has Obama pressured or prodded them to do so. Many crises crowded his agenda soon after his inauguration, leaving the cause of government openness on the back burner, if not in the freezer.” (Slate, 11/2/2016)

January 21, 2009—February 1, 2013: While Clinton is secretary of state, at least 181 companies, individuals, and foreign governments that donate to the Clinton Foundation also lobby Clinton’s State Department.

Clinton (right) texting while attending a dinner with Moroccan Foreign Minister Taib Fassi Fihri (center) and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini (left), in Marrakesh, Morocco, on November 2, 2009. (Credit: Abdelhak Senna / Agence France Presse)

Clinton (right) texting while attending a dinner with Moroccan Foreign Minister Taib Fassi Fihri (center) and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini (left), in Marrakesh, Morocco, on November 2, 2009. (Credit: Abdelhak Senna / Agence France Presse)

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)

January 21, 2009—February 1, 2013: While Clinton is secretary of state, tens of millions of foreign donations are given to a branch of the Clinton Foundation, yet are never submitted to State Department lawyers for review.

Ira Magaziner (Credit: Scott Kingsley)

Ira Magaziner (Credit: Scott Kingsley)

The branch is the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). Just before Clinton became secretary of state, an agreement was signed between the Clinton Foundation and the Obama White House in order to prevent conflict of interest problems with Clinton’s new position. During these years, the CHAI has a budget of over $100 million a year, making it worth nearly 60 percent of all of the Clintons’ charities. The agreement with the White House not only specified transparency rules that were ignored, but also prohibited any significant increase in foreign government giving over previous yearly levels. Yet foreign government grants to CHAI increases from $27 million in 2010 to $56 million in 2013.

In 2015, the CEO of CHAI, former Hillary Clinton adviser Ira Magaziner, will respond to some of the omissions, but will “decline to explain why no part of the pact [with the White House] was ever activated.” (The Boston Globe, 4/30/2015)

September 21, 2009: Clinton’s meeting with major business leaders on this day is just one of dozens of meetings later not listed on her official calendar.

Clinton attends a meeting with New York Stock Exchange president Duncan Niederauer and various business leaders on September 21, 2009. (Credit: public domain)

Clinton attends a meeting with New York Stock Exchange president Duncan Niederauer and various business leaders on September 21, 2009. (Credit: public domain)

In June 2016, the Associated Press will finally gain access to some planning schedules from when Clinton was secretary of state. A comparison of these planning schedules with Clinton’s official calendar from that time will show that at least 60 meetings with Clinton’s donors and other outside interests were omitted. The Associated Press will give one specific example of a meeting on this day that is omitted from the calendar, even though the names of attendees to other meetings on the same day are not. Clinton meets with 13 major business leaders for a private breakfast discussion at the New York Stock Exchange:

  • David M. Cote, CEO of Honeywell International Inc.;
  • Fabrizio Freda, CEO of the Estee Companies Inc.;
  • Lewis Frankfort, chair of Coach Inc.;
  • Robert Kelly, CEO of the New York Bank of Mellon;
  • Ellen Kullman, CEO of DuPont;
  • Harold McGraw III, chair of McGraw Hill Companies;
  • Duncan Niederauer, CEO of  the New York Stock Exchange;
  • Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo;
  • Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks Corp;
  • Steven Schwarzman, chair of the Blackstone Group;
  • James Taiclet, chair of the American Tower Corp.;
  • James Tisch, president of Loews Corp.; and
  • John D. Wren, CEO of Omnicom Group.

All the companies represented except Coach Inc. lobby the US government in 2009. Four companies—Blackstone, Honeywell, Omnicom, and DuPont—lobby the State Department that year. All the companies except for American Tower and New York Bank of Mellon donate to the Clinton Foundation, and two attendees—Schwarzman and Frankfort—personally donate to the foundation. Four of the companies—PepsiCo, the Blackstone Group, DuPont, and Honeywell International Inc.—also donate to what the Associated Press calls “Clinton’s pet diplomatic project of that period,” the US pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo. (The Associated Press, 6/24/2016)

January 14, 2010: Algeria makes a large donation to the Clinton Foundation in violation of the Foundation’s rules, while Algeria is heavily lobbying Clinton’s State Department.

Clinton and Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika meet in Algiers, Algeria, on October 29, 2012. (Credit: US Embassy Algiers)

Clinton and Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika meet in Algiers, Algeria, on October 29, 2012. (Credit: US Embassy Algiers)

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)

July 12, 2011: Clinton’s public comments on transparency contradict her personal practices.

Clinton speaks to the Open Government Partnership on July 12, 2011. (Credit: Open Government Partnership}

Clinton speaks to the Open Government Partnership on July 12, 2011. (Credit: Open Government Partnership}

Clinton gives a speech to inaugurate the Open Government Partnership, an international initiative to promote government transparency. “When a government hides its work from public view, hands out jobs and money to political cronies, administers unequal justice, looks away as corrupt bureaucrats and businessmen enrich themselves at the people’s expense, that government is failing its citizens. And most importantly, that government is failing to earn and hold the trust of its people. And that lack of trust, in a world of instantaneous communication, means that the very fabric of society begins to fray and the foundation of governmental legitimacy begins to crumble.”

In 2015, Danielle Brian, the executive director of the nonpartisan Project On Government Oversight (POGO), will say that Clinton’s comments “demonstrate extraordinary hypocrisy given that while Clinton was giving this speech she had created essentially a second set of books where her communications were not being captured for the National Archives [and Records Administration (NARA)].” Furthermore, keeping all of her emails out of reach “undermines the whole point of the Open Government Partnership.” (US Department of State, 7/12/2011) (Bloomberg News, 3/5/2015)

September 20, 2011: Clinton’s State Department pledges to improve processing FOIA requests while Clinton keeps her emails out of reach of all such requests.

Abedin (standing) and Clinton (on cell phone) attend a meeting with leaders of the Open Government Partnership in New York on September 20, 2011. (Credit: Politico)

Abedin (standing) and Clinton (on cell phone) attend a meeting with leaders of the Open Government Partnership in New York on September 20, 2011. (Credit: Politico)

The US is one of the founding members of the Open Government Partnership, an international initiative joined by over 60 countries to promote government transparency. The US State Department makes several commitments as part of a transparency action plan. One is to overhaul how the US government stores and manages its records, to create “a reformed, digital-era, government-wide records management framework that promotes accountability and performance.” It also pledges to reform how it processes requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), making government information more searchable and available to the public.

In 2015, Ryan Shapiro, a FOIA expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will point out that Clinton made this commitment even while she attempted to keep all of her emails from future public scrutiny. “Secretary Clinton’s hypocritical and self-serving stance on transparency should be deeply troubling to everyone who cares about open government and accountability. It’s ironic that Secretary Clinton championed an open government partnership for other countries while simultaneously working diligently to subvert transparency at home.” (Bloomberg News, 3/5/2015) (Opengovpartnership.org, 1/13/2016)

March 22, 2012: Clinton denounces corruption and lack of transparency.

The Transparency International logo (Credit: Transparency International)

The Transparency International logo (Credit: Transparency International)

Speaking at an award ceremony for the international non-profit Transparency International, Clinton says, “[C]orruption and the lack of transparency eats away like a cancer at the trust people should have in their government, at the potential for broad-based, sustainable, inclusive growth. Corruption stifles entrepreneurship, siphons funding away from critical services, poor fiscal transparency makes it impossible to hold governments accountable. And if these problems go on long enough, if they run deep enough, they literally can and have been shaking societies to the core.” (US Department of State, 3/22/2012)

November 2012: The Better Business Bureau (BBB) does not give the Clinton Foundation its annual stamp of approval.

The Better Business Bureau accredited business logo. (Credit: The Better Business Bureau)

The Better Business Bureau accredited business logo. (Credit: The Better Business Bureau)

It rates the foundation as not meeting their standards in six categories, mostly having to do with transparency. (Better Business Bureau, 11/2012) The BBB has yet to give its full approval since then.

In March 2015, after numerous news reports criticize the foundation, the BBB will say their review of the foundation is “in progress.” That will still be the case in April 2016. (Better Business Bureau, 3/28/2015) (Better Business Bureau, 4/4/2016)

February 25, 2015: Bill Clinton won’t tell the State Department how much he’s being offered to give speeches, making it difficult for the department to reject any offers.

Richard Painter (Credit: Harvard Center for Ethics)

Richard Painter (Credit: Harvard Center for Ethics)

Politico reports, “In hundreds of documents released to Politico under the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA], not a single case appears where the State Department explicitly rejected a Bill Clinton speech.” They raised serious questions about only two speech proposals. “Instead, the records show State Department lawyers acted on sparse information about business proposals and speech requests and were under the gun to approve the proposals promptly.”

The Clintons made a deal with the White House to require State Department ethics officials to give their approval of all of Bill Clinton’s paid speech offers. However, the deal didn’t require Clinton to reveal how much he would be paid for any speech, and he didn’t voluntarily disclose this, so the officials were unable to judge if he was being overpaid and thus essentially bribed. He also didn’t reveal potential conflicts of interests with those paying for the speeches, such as donations to the Clinton Foundation or other relationships with the Clintons.

Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer, says that since the department officials didn’t know the specific speech fees in advance, he doesn’t see how they could have fairly judged whether to approve the speech or not. “That would be a gap if they didn’t find out at all.” (Politico, 2/25/2015)

March 3, 2015: Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Reince Priebus suggests Clinton could have mixed diplomacy and private fundraising in her emails.

Reince Priebus (Credit: Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Reince Priebus (Credit: Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Responding to news reports that Clinton used only a private email and private server while secretary of state, Priebus attempts to tie them into previous reports scrutinizing the Clinton Foundation and its fundraising from foreign governments. “It makes you wonder: Did she use the private emails so she could conduct diplomacy and fundraising at the same time?” (Politico, 3/3/2015)

March 4, 2015: A non-profit watchdog suggests Clinton hid her emails because her government work and Clinton Foundation work was intertwined.

John Wonderlich (Credit: Personal Democracy Media)

John Wonderlich (Credit: Personal Democracy Media)

The New York Times reports that a Clinton spokesperson has declined to comment on Clinton’s “use of clintonemail.com for matters related to the Clinton Foundation, which has received millions of dollars in donations from foreign governments.”

However, John Wonderlich, policy director of the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates transparency in government, comments, “It seems her intent was to create a system where she could personally manage access to her communications” both relating to her secretary of state work and the Clinton Foundation. “Given all the power she had as secretary of state, a lot of that work would be jumbled together. Her presidential ambitions and the family foundation would be wrapped up technically in email.” (The New York Times, 3/4/2015)

March 10, 2015: Hillary’s claim of private email correspondence with her husband Bill is contradicted by him.

Matt McKenna (Credit: The Associated Press)

Matt McKenna (Credit: The Associated Press)

In a press conference at the United Nations, one reason Hillary Clinton gives for deleting some of the emails from her private server is that they “contain[ed] personal communications from my husband and me.”

However, on the same day she says this, Matt McKenna, spokesperson for Bill Clinton, asserts that Bill still doesn’t use email himself. Although he does use Twitter sometimes, he has only sent two emails in his life, and both of them were when he was president in the 1990s. (The Daily Telegraph, 3/10/2015) (The Wall Street Journal, 3/10/2015)

April 26, 2015: The Clinton Foundation admits mistakes.

Maura Pally (Credit: The Clinton Foundation)

Maura Pally (Credit: The Clinton Foundation)

The foundation’s acting CEO Maura Pally says, “Yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don’t happen in the future.” Her comments come in the wake of numerous news reports about conflicts of interest and lack of transparency in the foundation.

Many of the reports are based on the book Clinton Cash by conservative author Peter Schweizer. According to CNN, Schweizer says he doesn’t “have ‘direct evidence’ of ethical misconduct, but [says] the pattern he uncovered should raise eyebrows and trigger an investigation.” (CNN, 4/27/2015)

Pally was a deputy assistant secretary under Clinton at State Department. 

June 2, 2015: The Washington Post reports on the controversial reputation of the Clinton Foundation.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in Washington, DC, September 8, 2014. Their foundations have partnered to launch The Presidential Leadership Scholars Program. (Credit: Saul Loeb / Getty Images)

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in Washington, DC, September 8, 2014. Their foundations have partnered to launch The Presidential Leadership Scholars Program. (Credit: Saul Loeb / Getty Images)

“Today, the Clinton Foundation is unlike anything else in the history of the nation and, perhaps, the world: It is a global philanthropic empire run by a former US president and closely affiliated with a potential future president, with the audacious goal of solving some of the world’s most vexing problems by bringing together the wealthiest, glitziest, and most powerful people from every part of the planet. […] The foundation now includes 11 major initiatives, focused on issues as divergent as crop yields in Africa, earthquake relief in Haiti, and the cost of AIDS drugs worldwide. In all, the Clintons’ constellation of related charities has raised $2 billion, employs more than 2,000 people, and has a combined annual budget of more than $223 million.”

According to the independent watchdog group the American Institute of Philanthropy, the foundation spends about 89 percent of its money on its charitable mission. Thus that group has given it an A rating (with A-plus being the best). However, Charity Navigator, the other leading watchdog group that rates charities, has not issued a grade for the foundation, saying its structure makes it too complex to grade. In 2015, it put the foundation on its “watch list,” due to negative media reports. (The Washington Post, 6/2/2015)

March 30, 2016: Clinton says the Clinton Foundation will continue if she is elected president.

Clinton on the Rachel Maddow Show on March 30, 2016. (Credit: MSNBC)

Clinton on the Rachel Maddow Show on March 30, 2016. (Credit: MSNBC)

Clinton is interviewed by MSNBC political commentator Rachel Maddow. Maddow asks her, “I think it is not unreasonable to suspect that people may give donations to the Clinton Foundation hoping that they will favorably influence your opinion toward them, as a presidential candidate, or eventually as president if you’re elected. […] Is there a case to be made, an ethical case to be made that the Clinton Foundation and the [Clinton] Global Initiative should essentially be wound down as a family foundation while you run for president?”

Clinton disagrees. She describes the charity work of the foundation in detail, then says: “So, I think the answer is transparency. And there is no doubt that there will be complete transparency about donations.” (Newsweek, 3/30/2016)

March 30, 2016: Wisconsin’s largest newspaper criticizes Clinton’s transparency.

Several days before a closely contested Democratic presidential primary in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel publishes an editorial by their editorial board entitled, “Clinton’s Abysmal Record on Open Government.”

It states that Clinton’s “horrible track record on transparency raises serious concerns for open government under a Clinton administration—so serious we believe they may disqualify her from public office.” It adds, “the only believable reason for the private server in her basement was to keep her emails out of the public eye by willfully avoiding freedom of information laws. No president, no secretary of state, no public official at any level is above the law. She chose to ignore it, and must face the consequences.”

The editorial concludes, “Clinton has a long track record of public service but an equally long record of obfuscation, secrecy, and working in the shadows to boost her power and further her ambition.” (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/30/2016)

May 5, 2016: Some of Clinton’s emails may remain private because of a legal precedent involving former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger participate in "Conversations on Diplomacy, Moderated by Charlie Rose,” at the Department of State in Washington, DC, on April 20, 2011. AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Clinton and Henry Kissinger in Washington, DC, on April 20, 2011. (Credit: Jewel  Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Kissinger made transcripts of some of his work-related phone calls. After he left office in January 1977, he took the only copies with him and eventually had them transferred to the Library of Congress, with tight restrictions on who could access them. A watchdog group sued for access, but the US Supreme Court ruled in a five-to-two decision that the State Department had no obligation to search for documents that had been removed, even if they had been improperly taken.

However, there is a footnote written by Justice William Rehnquist that the ruling might not apply when someone is actively trying to thwart the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

In two ongoing civil suits, judges have granted discovery to Judicial Watch in part to determine if Clinton or her aides had actively tried to thwart FOIA. That opens the possibility of a judge eventually ordering Clinton to hand over even the emails she deemed personal, if she still has them. (Time, 5/5/2016)

May 5, 2016: The State Department may postpone releasing documents about Clinton’s email security procedures until after the November 2016 presidential election.

Jason Koebler (Credit: Vice News)

Jason Koebler (Credit: Vice News)

In March 2015, shortly after Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email and server was first publicly revealed, Vice News filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the State Department for all “communications, presentations, and procedures created by the State Department to secure Hillary Clinton’s email from electronic threats.” In 2015, the Department began releasing some relevant emails, but no other relevant documents have been released.

After two delays, on this day, Vice News is told by the Department that the “estimated completion date” for the FOIA request has been “extended to December 2016.”

Vice News reporter Jason Koebler comments, “The FOIA process is a notorious mess, but it is patently ridiculous that records pertaining to the security practices of someone who stands a very good chance of running the country—and thus being in possession of highly sensitive documents at all times—won’t be made available to the public a year and a half after they were requested.” (Vice News, 5/5/2016)

May 5, 2016: 36 more Clinton emails are publicly released, suggesting many more still to come.

In January 2016, a federal judge ordered the State Department to release all the known emails of Huma Abedin from her time as Clinton’s deputy chief of staff. This is in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by Judicial Watch.

Over 29,000 pages of emails are due to be released in batches, and this is the first batch of 241 pages. Some of the emails are between Abedin and Clinton, and most if not all of them appear to be work-related, showing yet again that Clinton did not turn over all her work-related emails when she gave the State Department over 30,000 emails in December 2014.

21 of the emails between Abedin and Clinton date from January 28, 2009 to March 17, 2009; Clinton had said she didn’t use her new email account until March 18, 2009.

Another 15 emails between them date between March 18, 2009 to October 20, 2012, and do not match any of emails in the State Department’s database of the 30,000 publicly released Clinton emails. Whereas 16 emails dating from March 20, 2009 to May 28, 2009 do appear in that database. (Judicial Watch, 5/5/2016) (US Department of State, 5/1/2016) (US Department of State, 5/1/2016) 

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton comments, “These emails further undermine Hillary Clinton’s statement, under penalty of perjury, suggesting she turned over all of her government emails to the State Department. How many more Hillary Clinton emails is the Obama State Department hiding?” (Judicial Watch, 5/5/2016) Since these emails appear to be:

  • a more or less random selection from all four years of Clinton’s time as secretary of state
  • about half of the emails from March 18, 2009 and afterwards are not included in the 30,000 previously released emails
  • this batch makes up less than one percent of all the Huma Abedin emails due to be released
  • Abedin’s emails make up only about 15 percent of the 30,000 emails

One can reasonably estimate that thousands of the over 31,000 emails Clinton deleted actually are work-related and are likely to be publicly released in later batch releases of Abedin’s emails as well as FOIA lawsuits forcing the release of emails from other top Clinton aides. In fact, if this sample is a truly random sample representative of the rest of the emails from Abedin and other top Clinton aides, well over 10,000 of Clinton’s deleted emails could be work-related.

May 10, 2016: A key record keeping official says the disappearance of Pagliano’s emails “stink to high heavens.”

Daniel Metcalfe (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi / Legal Times)

Daniel Metcalfe (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi / Legal Times)

Dan Metcalfe, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy for 25 years, comments on news that the State Department can’t find the emails of Clinton’s computer technician Bryan Pagliano: “If it is true that federal records directly documenting his work no longer exist, then that is awfully coincidental, to put it most charitably—especially given the nature of his work and the role he has played in the Clinton email controversy.”

He adds, “And it certainly now raises reasonable suspicion, as it did with the Senate a few months ago, that something was very much amiss here—either with record creation or record preservation, or both. For someone who has taken the Fifth regarding his government activity, it is more than suspicious that his agency suddenly determine that the records that you would ordinarily expect it to have maintained about his work are just not there. […] In short, the whole thing stinks to high heavens.” (LawNewz, 5/10/2016)

May 25, 2016: Clinton and her top aides refused to be interviewed for the State Department inspector general’s report criticizing her email practices.

The nine former Clinton aides who were not interviewed by the Office of Inspector General (in order as listed).

The nine former Clinton aides who were not interviewed by the Office of Inspector General (in order as listed).

The report released on this day notes that it interviewed “dozens” of present and former State Department officials, including current Secretary of State John Kerry and the three secretaries prior to Clinton: Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice. However, Clinton refused to be interviewed. Furthermore, nine of Clinton’s former top aides were singled out in the report for not being interviewed:

  • Cheryl Mills, chief of staff;
  • Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff for operations;
  • Jake Sullivan, deputy chief of staff for policy, and then director of policy planning;
  • Philippe Reines, deputy assistant secretary for strategic communication;
  • John Bentel, director of the Information Resources Management (IRM) office;
  • Bryan Pagliano, special advisor to the deputy chief information officer (who also privately managed Clinton’s private server);
  • Heather Samuelson, senior advisor to the department (who determined which of Clinton’s emails to delete in late 2014);
  • Thomas Nides, deputy secretary of state for management and resources; and
  • Justin Cooper, whom the report calls “an individual based in New York who provided technical support for Secretary Clinton’s personal email system but who was never employed by the Department.”

The only other person singled out by the report for refusing to be interviewed is Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016) 

The report was many months in the making. But on May 8, 2016, only two weeks before the report’s release, Clinton claimed in an interview that when it came to her emails, “I’m more than ready to talk to anybody, anytime. And I’ve encouraged all of… my assistants to be very forthcoming.” (CNN, 5/8/2016) 

Later in the day, Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon defends Clinton’s decision not to cooperate with the report by saying, “To our mind, it made sense to prioritize the [FBI investigation] and so, accordingly, Hillary Clinton has said since last August that she’ll be happy to sit with them at whatever point they approach her, which has not happened yet.” However, he didn’t clarify why Clinton couldn’t have cooperated with both investigations, especially since the FBI hasn’t even contacted her yet. (Politico, 5/25/2016)

May 25, 2016: Clinton’s spokesperson defends Clinton not cooperating for the inspector general’s report by claiming she’s cooperating with the FBI investigation instead.

Brian Fallon (Credit: Bloomberg Politics)

Brian Fallon (Credit: Bloomberg Politics)

Clinton’s spokesperson, Brian Fallon, responds to the State Department inspector general’s report critiquing Clinton’s email practices.

He attempts to justify why Clinton and her top aides did not get interviewed for the inspector general’s report by saying, “To our mind, it made sense to prioritize the review being conducted by the Justice Department and so, accordingly, Hillary Clinton has said since last August that she’ll be happy to sit with them at whatever point they approach her, which has not happened yet. And she has similarly encouraged all of her aides to cooperate in every way with that Justice Department review.”

By “Justice Department review,” he is referring to the FBI’s Clinton investigation, even though the FBI director recently said they are conducting an “investigation” and not any kind of “review.”

Fallon argues that by the time the FBI investigation is done, “it will be impossible for anybody to suggest that she didn’t answer every question that anybody had.”

According to Politico, “He also said that there were questions raised about whether the inspector general—an independent position appointed by President Barack Obama—has an anti-Clinton bias, though he said there was no indication of any bias in the [inspector general’s report].” (Politico, 5/25/2016)

May 25, 2016: The New York Times publishes an article with the title: “Emails Add to Hillary Clinton’s Central Problem: Voters Just Don’t Trust Her.”

The article reports that “Clinton has gone from having a 69 percent approval rating and being one of the most popular public figures in the country when she left the State Department in 2013 to having one of the highest disapproval ratings of any likely presidential nominee of a major party.”

According to one recent poll, 53 percent of likely voters said they have an unfavorable opinion of her, and according to another recent poll, 64 percent of registered voters said they do not consider her honest or trustworthy.

The article notes, “Ask voters why they don’t trust Mrs. Clinton, and again and again they will answer with a single word: Emails.” (The New York Times, 5/25/2016)

May 26, 2016: Clinton doubles down with her justifications, contradicting the inspector general’s report.

Clinton defends her email use with ABC News on May 26, 2016. (Credit: ABC News)

Clinton defends her email use with ABC News on May 26, 2016. (Credit: ABC News)

Clinton is interviewed by ABC News one day after the release of the State Department inspector general’s report criticizing her email practices. The ABC News headline about the interview says she “doubles down” on defending her past behavior. “This report makes clear that personal email use was the practice for other secretaries of state. It was allowed. And the rules have been clarified since I left.”

But, as ABC News points out, the report showed “that Clinton shouldn’t have used a private email server to conduct official business and would have not been allowed to do so had she asked. It also found that she should have turned over emails after her tenure and violated department policy.”

When asked why she did not agree to be interviewed for the report, “despite repeatedly saying she would talk to anyone, anytime about her emails,” Clinton replies, “I have talked about this for many, many months. I testified for eleven hours before the Benghazi Committee. I have answered numerous questions. We have posted information on our website and the information that we had is out there.” (ABC News, 5/26/2016)

May 26, 2016: Some on Clinton’s campaign allegedly privately admit that Clinton tried to keep her emails from public scrutiny.

Carl Bernstein's "A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton," published January, 2008. (Credit: Amazon)

Carl Bernstein’s “A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” published January, 2008. (Credit: Amazon)

Journalist Carl Bernstein says that Clinton “set up a home brew server for purposes of evading the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA], evading subpoenas from Congress, that’s its real purpose, to not have accountability, to not have transparency.”

He alleges, “if you talk to people around the Clinton campaign very quietly, they will acknowledge to you, if you are a reporter who knows some of the background, that this is the purpose of it. Is so she would not be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. So that—because the e-mails aren’t there, that nobody knew about this server.”

He also calls the recently released State Department inspector general report “a devastating event for Hillary Clinton. It is a time bomb that has been ticking and it’s starting to explode around her and there’s more to come because the FBI’s investigation is ongoing.”

In addition to his famous role exposing the Watergate scandal, Bernstein wrote a 2008 book about Clinton. (CNN, 5/27/2016)

June 1, 2016: Clinton wants to avoid answering questions about her email scandal as much as possible.

Politico reports that the State Department inspector general’s report on her email practices has frustrated Clinton’s attempt to focus on her positives, since trustworthiness and honesty issues continue to dodge her. “Clinton’s game plan moving forward is to keep her head down and move the email issue to the side rather than try and explain it all away, while reiterating that what she did was a mistake, [unnamed Clinton] campaign officials said.”

An unnamed “longtime Clinton ally” says: “The strategy of, ‘let’s tell everyone everything about this,’ won’t work now and will just result in more questions. The goal now is how to make this election about something else other than email.”

Another unnamed “Clinton ally close to the campaign” says, “If she starts answering questions [about her email scandal], it becomes Chinese water torture. I think she has said all there is to say on this and needs to put it behind her. If you start to fall into a trap of responding to every little nuance, you lose.” (Politico, 6/1/2016)

June 6, 2016: The State Department won’t process a FOIA request with important political implications until after the presidential election.

David Sirota (Credit: David Sirota)

David Sirota (Credit: David Sirota)

In July 2015, journalist David Sirota filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain all of Clinton’s correspondence regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In November 2015, the State Department told Sirota that the request would be fulfilled by April 2016. But on this day, the department pushes the deadline back to the end of November 2016—just after the general presidential election in early November.

While Clinton was secretary of state, she praised the TPP on over 45 different occasions and called it the “gold standard” of trade deals. Since then, she says she’s changed her mind and is against it. Sirota wants to know how involved she was in crafting the deal. This could have important political implications because Clinton’s chief primary opponent Bernie Sanders is strongly against the TPP and her likely general election opponent Donald Trump is against it as well. The average FOIA request made of the State Department takes 111 days to process, but based on the latest day, this one will take 489 days.

CNN journalist Jake Tapper comments, “The Department Inspector General [IG] in January noted that the State Department is particularly weak among Obama administration agencies when it comes to fulfilling the obligations of this law, the IG said that responses to these requests are deficient, that there aren’t enough personnel at the State Department to carry out all the requests, and that State Department leaders have not played a meaningful role in making any improvements. At a certain point, one begins to wonder if these weaknesses are deliberate and that these efforts to conceal information do not conceal a certain disdain for the public and your right to know.” (CNN, 6/6/2016)

June 9, 2016: Clinton says there is “zero chance” the FBI’s Clinton investigation will pose a problem in the presidential general election.

In an interview, she adds that there is “absolutely no possibility of an indictment. There is no basis for it, and I’m looking forward to this being wrapped up as soon as possible.” (Politico, 6/9/2016)

June 24, 2016: Clinton’s official calendar omits dozens of meetings with donors and other outside interests.

A sample of a meeting with donors and loyalists that were omitted from Clinton’s official calendar. (Credit: The Associated Press)

In August 2013, the Associated Press (AP) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Clinton’s calendar and schedules from the State Department. After years of delays and denials, AP recently got about one-third of Clinton’s planning schedules from when she was secretary of state, and will be getting more.

A comparison of the planning schedules with Clinton’s 1,500-page official calendar shows “at least 75 meetings with longtime political donors, Clinton Foundation contributors, and corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded,” or for which the names of those she met were omitted. At least 114 outsiders attended these meetings. Only seven meetings were replaced on the calendar by other events, while more than sixty meetings were either omitted entirely or described briefly as “private meetings” without mention of who attended. The missing meetings involve “private dinners and meetings with political donors, policy sessions with groups of corporate leaders, and ‘drop-bys’ with old Clinton campaign hands and advisers.”

For instance, meetings with controversial Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal are not mentioned, nor are meetings with billionaire Haim Saban, a major donor to Clinton’s political campaigns who also has given at least $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. A Clinton spokesperson says this merely shows that some records are more detailed than others. But AP points out that on the same days the names of donors Clinton meets with are omitted, the names of all the participants in other meetings are given.

Five former State Department logistics officials say that some previous secretaries of state omitted some details from their official calendars, but only for special occasions, such as medical appointments, and not meetings with donors or political interests. It is not known who edited Clinton’s official calendar. It also does not appear any federal laws were broken, although there are department rules against altering or deleting information.

Danielle Brian, executive director of the nonpartisan watchdog group the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), comments: “It’s clear that any outside influence needs to be clearly identified in some way to at least guarantee transparency. That didn’t happen. These discrepancies are striking because of her possible interest at the time in running for the presidency.” (The Associated Press, 6/24/2016)