Hillary Clinton just had the worst week of her presidential campaign, if not her political life.
Don’t believe me? Let us count the ways:
1. ‘Clinton Cash’ reached critical mass
Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash made allegations of corruption and pay-for-play — that Hillary Clinton leveraged her power as Secretary of State to benefit big donors to the Clinton Foundation — and that scandal has simmered since before the book’s release last May.
Early on, several establishment news outlets investigated the narratives of Clinton Cash and confirmed many of its findings. Leaked documents from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) showed that the party deemed the Clinton Foundation a vulnerability for Clinton; the global charity, worth billions, received zero mentions during the week-long Democratic National Convention.
This week, the Clintons appeared to fold — abandoning their line of defense that nothing unseemly ever went down with Foundation donors. Bill Clinton announced (soon after they told reporters they may have been hacked) that if Hillary were elected President, the Foundation would stop taking donations from foreign and corporate donors, Bill would step down from his position, and he would stop delivering paid speeches.
This did not fix the Clintons’ optics problem, however. The obvious question, posed by Schweizer, was why it was okay for Secretary of State Hillary to accept foreign donations while it is not okay for President Hillary to do it. The Washington Post crunched the numbers and found that this ban would cut off a majority of the org’s donors. And one of the Foundation’s flagship operations said that it might ignore the directive from the Clintons anyway.
On Sunday, the left was in total meltdown. The Huffington Post, which reliably downplays bad news for Hillary, ran the lead headline “JUST SHUT IT DOWN,” linking to a New York Times story focused on the “complications” the Foundation could bring to a Clinton (45) presidency. On Sunday-morning news shows, even the so-called “Clinton News Network” CNN grilled Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook about the Foundation. Sen. Ben Cardin, while defending the Clintons, conceded that “they clearly need to change the way they do business.”
2. John Podesta’s firm is now under FBI investigation
The “pros” in establishment media spent the first half of the week posting hit pieces on Paul Manafort for his lobbying efforts in Ukraine. Left out of their headlines and snarky Tweets: the firm involved in that work was The Podesta Group, founded by Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta and his brother Tony.
The FBI revealed in a Friday-night news dump that it had opened an investigation into the Podesta Group‘s involvement with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. It also would investigate Manafort’s lobbying firm, but the consultant had already tendered his resignation from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Podesta remains active in Clinton’s campaign.
Podesta is not the only Clinton associate currently targeted by the FBI. Just months ago, the Bureau announced a probe into Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s campaign funds — which touches on his time on the board of the Clinton Global Initiative.
3. Her health questions also went mainstream
Dr. Drew Pinsky said Clinton was receiving “1950s level care” on his radio show. A hashtag mocking Clinton’s campaign-trail habit of sitting on stools dominated Twitter. None other than MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell asked Clinton in person to respond to the memes about her health. Hillary laughed it off, but the optics of her tightly controlled campaign events — and Trump’s taunts about her “stamina” — are clearly in Team Clinton’s head. Campaign manager Robby Mook, unprompted, attacked Trump for not releasing his own health records during a Sunday TV interview.
On Sunday, Trump surrogate Rudy Giulani told TV viewers to search for “Hillary Clinton illness,” which so freaked out a New York Times columnist that he urged Google to hide content questioning Clinton’s health.
4. She has to answer questions about her emails under oath
As reported by Breitbart’s Ken Klukowski: “District Judge Emmett Sullivan granted one of Judicial Watch’s discovery requests to force Clinton to personally answer questions under oath.”
Judicial Watch, for those who don’t know about the organization, will not be asking softball questions — to put it lightly. And there are already rumblings of a perjury case for her sworn testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
5. She tried to frame an innocent black man
Clinton told the FBI that she sought the advice of Colin Powell before setting up her private, unsecure, homebrew email server — which housed messages containing classified information for her work as Secretary of State. Powell said she was not being honest — that “Her people have been trying to pin it on me.”
6. She was MIA from the campaign trail the whole second half of the week
#WheresHillary became the #1 worldwide trend on Twitter, as users trolled her for going 259 days without a press conference and then going most of the week without any public campaign events. Donald Trump fanned the flames with a one-word answer to the question: “Sleeping.”
7. She was MIA in responding to the biggest U.S. natural disaster since Sandy
Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence landed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Friday, talked with victims of the region’s historic floods, and handed out supplies for aid. Local residents, former Senator Mary Landrieu, and Governor John Bel Edwards all praised Trump’s visit for bringing attention to the state during its time of need.
As Trump seized the moment, Clinton was nowhere to be found. After sending some perfunctory sympathies by phone and social media, Hillary spent the weekend in some of the most affluent areas of New England: Martha’s Vineyard for Bill’s 70th birthday, thenProvincetown with Cher for a $1.5 million fundraiser. And on Wednesday night, she met privately with pop legend Paul McCartney in Cleveland.
The optics were abysmal: hobnobbing with the rich and powerful while the average Americans in flyover country began to clean up their destroyed homes.
8. Bill Clinton came back in the spotlight for the wrong reasons
A long profile and interview of one Clinton rape accuser, Juanita Broaddrick, appeared in BuzzFeed, the same day it came to light that the Clinton campaign scrubbed Hillary’s assurance that sexual assault victims “have the right to be believed.” The BuzzFeed article prompted the top editor of Wonkette to admit Broaddrick’s story is believable.
Several newspapers also picked up on 2002 comments from Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine, where he asserted President Bill Clinton should have resigned over his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Kaine said the scandalous episode was “beneath the dignity of the office.”
On Tuesday, Hillary told supporters in Philadelphia that she doesn’t understand why anyone criticizes her husband.
9. She went off message
While she was off the campaign trail, Clinton’s team wasn’t talking about the issues; instead, they were freaking out about Breitbart Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon joining the Trump campaign. They sent multiple fundraising emails about us, whipping up outrage over “offensive” headlines (most of them obvious troll posts from our resident gay thot Milo).
10. Huma Abedin’s past hurt her even more once she went off message
If guilt by association applies to a top campaign operative’s journalistic output, then it applies to Hillary’s closest confidant Huma Abedin and the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. As reported by Breitbart’s Lee Stranahan, the publication printed “articles blaming the U.S. for 9/11, suggesting women were asking for rape by dressing provocatively, and… according to the Post, ‘in 1999 published a book, edited by her mother, that justifies the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation under Islamic law.'”
The campaign was rattled enough by this story that they put out a denial on Sunday, claiming that “her name was simply listed on the masthead” from 1996 to 2008, and she did not contribute to the editing of the journal.
11. Trump stayed on message
At a Wisconsin rally Tuesday night, Donald Trump laid into Clinton on the issues of crime and poverty in the black community. He defused Clinton’s “dangerous… nuclear codes” line of attack by showing a kinder, gentler Trump in North Carolina. The Clinton campaign’s response did not try to move the rhetorical battlefield back to the winning themes of “dangerous” and “racist.” They merely quibbled that Trump was “offensive” and “divisive.”
The Hill took note that Trump, now under the leadership of Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, was using a teleprompter at his rallies to stay on message — yet declared his delivery was “smoother” than on previous scripted speeches.
12. Donald Trump tightened the polls
The cherry on top. Clinton’s campaign is outspending Trump’s by a huge margin — but her post-convention bump in the polls has faded and now the race is again virtually tied. In the LA Times/USC Dornsife daily tracking poll, Trump has pulled ahead. Zogby and Morning Consult show Clinton’s lead at two and three percentage points, respectively.
The biggest news so far on the Monday after Hillary’s terrible week is that the FBI has obtained over 15,000 emails she did not turn over to the State Department. The Obama Administration is slow-walking their release, but it appears we will soon see just how much yoga and wedding planning she really kept hidden from FOIA requests. Spoiler alert: not a lot.