The other Clinton scandal is back in the news, courtesy of a report from ABC, which picked up some State Department emails that “shed light on Bill Clinton’s lucrative speaking engagements and show he and the Clinton Foundation tried to get approval for invitations related to two of the most repressive countries in the world – North Korea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
Yes, at the exact moment Hillary is causing even liberal stomachs to churn by comparing Republicans to terrorists, we learn Bill was trying to pick up fat paychecks from some of the world’s worst dictators. And why do We the People finally have access to these long-concealed emails? Because of a lawsuit from none other than Citizens United, the group that drove liberals insane years ago by making a film about Clinton that became the focus of a landmark Supreme Court decision on free speech.
ABC News writes that the emails “have come to light because of a public records request by the conservative group Citizens United, which sued the State Department to get the documents.” In other words, as always, it was necessary to sue the Obama Administration to get the truth. Mere “public records requests” aren’t good enough. Only Freedom of Information Act lawsuits from groups like Citizens United or Judicial Watch produce the good stuff… and it still takes months to pry them from this furtive Administration.
Two more familiar names pop up in the report: Hillary aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, who have been notoriously unwilling to make sworn statements that they have handed all relevant correspondence over to the State Department. You can see why they’re not so eager to make their correspondence public.
The Clinton Foundation is involved too, in the kind of story that made Peter Schweitzer’s book “Clinton Cash” a best-seller. To summarize the story ABC News lays out in exhaustive detail, with scans of the relevant emails, Clinton Foundation foreign policy director Amitabh Desai forwarded Mills an invitation for Bill Clinton to speak at an event in the Congo where two of the local dictators would be in attendance, and looking for photo ops with the former President.
Given the “particularly grim human rights record of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its leader, Joseph Kabila” – a record including prevalent and intense “sexual violence against women in eastern Congo,” which was among “the worst in the world” – it was suggested by Bill’s speaking agency that he turn down the invitation.
Bill nevertheless pushed the State Department to let him go ahead and make the speech, dropping all of the $650,000 payoff into the Clinton Foundation, from which it could emerge someday as clean, laundered Clinton political cash. Apparently he was never able to secure the Administration approval he desired.
The same thing happened when North Korea wanted to pay Bill for a speaking engagement. Desai, who evidently has a nice touch for understatement, emailed Mills and other State Department officials to ask if it was “safe to assume” the Obama Administration would “have concerns” about Bill accepting the North Korean invite.
Mills replied, with admirably brevity and directness, “Decline it.”
But the Clinton machine kept pushing, with a follow-up email whining that Hillary’s brother Tony Rodham was involved in setting up the North Korean deal, and pleading with the State Department to share any “specific concerns” with letting Bill attend the North Korean event they might have.
“If he needs more let him know his wife knows and I am happy to call him secure when he is near a secure line,” Mills responded. The rest of the conversation is not described in the newly released emails, but ABC News was assured Bill Clinton didn’t give either of the highly questionable speeches.
“Clinton defenders are likely to point to the emails as an example of the system set up by the Clintons working. Speaking requests were sent to the State Department, which had the final word,” ABC News writes. “Still, the exchanges open a rare window on the private communications between aides to the former president, the Clinton Foundation, and Secretary Clinton’s State Department during the four-year period that Hillary Clinton served as the nation’s top diplomat. Those relationships and communications have drawn political scrutiny in recent months, with Republicans pouncing on episodes of potential conflicts of interests.”
I guess we’re not supposed to draw any conclusions from the fact that Bill and the Clinton Foundation pushed for both of these lucrative speeches to ugly dictatorships – one of them noted for the horrendous abuse of women, the other noted for the horrendous abuse of everybody – and had to be told “no” repeatedly by the State Department.
To his credit, Jonathan Karl of ABC News isn’t afraid to go there, writing that the emails “show just how far Bill Clinton was willing to go to earn those lucrative fees – seeking approval for appearances with ties to two of the most brutal countries in the world.”
The best that can be said about the conversations revealed by these long-suppressed emails is that Hillary Clinton didn’t overrule the rest of the State apparatus and give Bill the go-ahead. It’s hard to see her throwing Bill under the bus and campaigning on her relative integrity in thwarting his hunger for Congo and Nork money.