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RNC Comms Dir. Calls Out Clinton Loyalist for Lobbying for Unsavory Dictators

On Monday evening, Republican National Committee (RNC) communications director and chief strategist Sean Spicer called out longtime and omnipresent Clinton loyalist Lanny Davis for his past work for brutal dictators to show why Hillary Clinton needs to turn over all of her State Department-related emails from her private account.
Davis went on CNN’s “Outfront” to defend Clinton, who has also come under fire for her family foundation’s acceptance of millions in donations from brutal and repressive Middle Eastern regimes,” who Davis claimed did nothing illegal.
Spicer, who is cordial and combative, displayed why he is one of the GOP’s most effective operatives by flipping the script on Davis and using Davis’s past work for unsavory dictators to let viewers to realize why Clinton’s use of a private email account was appalling for reasons other cybersecurity concerns.
Spicer bluntly asked Davis, “you and your firm represent several countries that have a horrible human rights record. Did you at any time e-mail Secretary Clinton on that private email about any business pertaining to the countries that you represent?”
A flustered Davis said Spicer, who is always prepared and armed with extensive research and facts, was “wrong,” repeatedly emphasized that Archbishop Desmond Tutu endorsed his work, attacked host Brianna Keilar for not interrupting Spicer, accused Spicer of trying to smear him, and asked viewers to go on the Internet to find the truth.
Archived articles on the Internet, though, show that Davis did indeed represent two notorious dictators with long histories of human rights abuses.
As the Washington Post noted in a 2013 profile, “democracy advocates were appalled when Davis accepted a $1 million contract in 2010 from Equatorial Guinea, a tiny, oil-rich African nation with a dreadful human rights record, and another for $100,000 per month from Ivory Coast a few months later.”
In 2010, the New York Times described reports that Equatorial Guinea dictator Teodoro Obiang Nguema had hired Davis as an adviser for $1 million a year.
“The president of Equatorial Guinea, who has ruled the oil-rich West African nation for three decades, sought Monday to recast his reputation as a corrupt, repressive leader in a more progressive mold,” the Times wrote. “Standing at his side to help him do that was the American lobbyist he has hired for $1 million a year: Lanny J. Davis, who served as a special counsel to President Bill Clinton.”
Davis would later spin to the Post that his “principal contribution was writing a speech that Obiang gave at an international conference in South Africa that committed the country to admitting human rights monitors” and that he only accepted $1 million a year from the dictator, according to the Post, “on a promise that Obiang would initiate democratic reforms.” Davis told reporters in 2010 that Obiang would free political prisoners if there are no substantial charges against them.
But as the New Republic noted, though, left-wing Salon discovered that Davis was still working for Obiang months after “Amnesty blasted the regime for the summary execution of four political opponents who had been abducted by Obiang’s security forces in Benin.”
Salon also detailed Obiang’s human rights abuses:

Unlawful killings by security forces; torture of detainees and prisoners by security forces; life-threatening conditions in prisons and detention facilities; official impunity; arbitrary arrest, detention and incommunicado detention; judicial corruption and lack of due process; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association and movement; government corruption; violence and discrimination against women; suspected trafficking in persons; discrimination against ethnic minorities; and restrictions on labor rights

In 2010, then-Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, who, as the Post noted, was “subsequently arrested and faces charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague,” hired Davis on a $100,000-a-month contract.

As the Post noted, Gbagbo had just “lost his reelection bid but was refusing to relinquish power, claiming widespread voter fraud. The United States and other nations urged Gbagbo to step down after the stalemate set off a surge of violence in Ivory Coast.” Davis claims “he advised the embassy that Gbagbo had to leave immediately.” As the Post noted, though, “publicly, he said otherwise”:

In a news release Davis issued just after he was hired, he said, “I urge the international community to avoid a rush to judgment until all the facts regarding the November 28 election are fairly evaluated — a position that offers the best chance to avoid bloodshed and to achieve peace and stability.”

Davis admitted to the Post in 2013 that he had misled the press about what he was doing and admitted that he was “more than naive” and “stupid.” He conceded that he should not have accepted the deals from Equatorial Guinea and the Ivory Coast and admitted that he made a “misjudgment.” The professional spinmeister then alleged that his “motives were in terms of really wanting to do good.”

Spicer noted that because Clinton used a private email account, “we have no idea what people like Lanny or others were e-mailing her about with respect to to business in front of the State Department.”

Spicer suggested that there are many things in Clinton’s emails that she does not want to talk about and demanded that Clinton answer questions like, “why did you have a server installed? What steps did you take to secure it? What things were e-mailed on that? How many more e-mails haven’t you turned over? That’s hardly going over the top, that’s just the beginning where we should be starting and something that every American should be asking.”

“Look, whether Lanny conducted business with her or not, right now we don’t know. The president today talked about the fact that he was emailing with her,” Spicer said. “Think of the cybersecurity concerns that should exist that you have the President of the United States e-mailing the Secretary of State on an unsecure server at a time when the Secretary of State is telling people about how vulnerable the United States is. That alone should present huge problems. Never mind the idea of we have no idea what people like Lanny or others were e-mailing her about with respect to to business in front of the State Department.”

Clinton reportedly plans to address the email scandal sometime this week in either a press conference or sit-down interview.

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