It’s easy to see why Hillary Clinton wanted to keep her emails secret.
The latest batch revealed by Judicial Watch – including 44 emails Clinton failed to hand over to the State Department, in violation of what was once known as “the law” – reveal what the New York Post calls a “shocking pay-for-play scheme.”
The only quibble is that none of this is really “shocking” to anyone but dead-end Clinton supporters, and they’ll simply ignore it. The emails show that Clinton’s State Department worked exactly the way every reader of Clinton Cash would expect.
As the New York Post puts it:
Hillary Clinton put the State Department up for sale, with top aides pulling strings and doing favors for fat-cat donors to the Clinton Foundation — including a shady billionaire, according to smoking-gun emails released Tuesday.
The stunning revelations include how wealthy contributors seeking influence or prestigious government gigs could fork over piles of cash to get access to Clinton’s inner circle, including top aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.
If Hillary Clinton and her crew weren’t completely immune to American law, they’d be worried about revelations that the Clinton Foundation’s Doug Band was emailing Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills to set up meetings for big donors, such as Gilbert Chagoury – a close friend of Bill Clinton’s who has poured up to $6 million into slush funds like the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative. The New York Post notes he was fined $66 million by Switzerland in a 2000 money-laundering case.
Another email forwarded to Abedin and Mills by Band explicitly asked for a “favor,” and Band told the Clinton team it was “important to take care” of the redacted individual, because “we all have had him on our radar.” Judicial Watch says Band was trying to help Mr. or Ms. Redacted get a job.
Then there was the February 2009 email from Morgan Stanley Asia chairman Stephen Roach, sending Clinton an advance copy of his Congressional testimony on Chinese monetary and trade policy, and seeking a “connection” when she visited Beijing. Bernie Sanders didn’t hit Clinton’s Wall Street connections as hard as his supporters might have expected, but they’re bound to come up during the general election.
“For the duration of my appointment as Secretary 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,” Clinton promised in a January 2009 letter to the State Department ethics official, inconveniently remembered by Judicial Watch.
The new emails also include another example of that famous “carelessness” Clinton and her team displayed toward security matters, as we learn Abedin once left Clinton’s daily schedule sitting on a bed in an unlocked hotel room during a trip to Trinidad and Tobago.
Judicial Watch found another email in which another Clinton aide showed “annoyance” that her schedule was actually “sent to an authorized State Department email address” instead of her “unsecured non-state.gov account.” Clinton took some pains to make sure her schedules weren’t made part of the official record,
Josh Gerstein at Politico spotted another interesting new email that pertained to another Freedom of Information Act request, which was filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal watchdog group. Judicial Watch turned up a smoking-gun email that shows Cheryl Mills was “alerted within days” when CREW requested “records describing all the email accounts used by Clinton.”
As for CREW, they didn’t get an answer for six months, and the answer they got was a lie – the State Department told them it couldn’t find any pertinent records. “The incident is noteworthy because had State’s response been more thorough, Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email server as Secretary of State could have been exposed years before it became public in March 2015,” Gerstein points out.
The CREW Freedom of Information Act request was a big enough deal for State officials to set up a conference call to discuss it, which may or may not have taken place. One of the people to be included in that call was Heather Samuelson, the senior adviser who ended up “separating personal messages from work-related ones” on Clinton’s server, before everything “personal” was flushed down the digital Memory Hole.
“No wonder Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin hid emails from the American people, the courts and Congress. They show the Clinton Foundation, Clinton donors, and operatives worked with Hillary Clinton in potential violation of the law.” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton.
“The State Department and the Clinton Foundation worked hand in hand in terms of policy and donor effort,” Fitton told the New York Times in a telephone interview. “There was no daylight between the two under Mrs. Clinton, and this was contrary to her promises.”
Fitton called the Cheryl Mills heads-up on the CREW request evidence that “she was aware of the FOIA request about Clinton’s email accounts, and allowed the response to go out that was a plain lie. And you can bet if Cheryl Mills knew about this inquiry, then Hillary Clinton did, too.”
The New York Post relates a swift response from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign: “This is yet more evidence that Hillary Clinton lacks the judgment, character, stability and temperament to be within 1,000 miles of public power. She views public office as nothing more than a means to personal enrichment.”
Trump’s senior campaign adviser, Stephen Miller, added that “latest finding is an unseemly, disturbing window into a corrupt office, and yet more evidence that Hillary Clinton has been lying from the beginning – and by any reasonable definition attempted to obstruct the investigation of the FBI.”
As a sign of how damaging this story is, it was only a matter of hours before the first media headlines, Tweets, and ledes describing Republicans as “pouncing” or “seizing” on the new revelations.
One such pounce was a statement from Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Short, as quoted by The Hill: “That the Clinton Foundation was calling in favors barely three months into Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department is deeply troubling and it is yet another reminder of the conflicts of interest and unethical wheeling and dealing she’d bring to the White House.”
The good news for Clinton is that even though such revelations bear directly on her fitness for office, we’re not likely to see many more of them before the election. The Hill reports that it’s “unclear” whether many of the Clinton records subject to FOIA requests will “be made public by Election Day in November.”
There is also some speculation that the FBI is still investigating the Clinton Foundation’s ties to the Hillary Clinton State Department, with much attention paid to FBI Director James Comey’s refusal to deny such an investigation exists when questioned by Congress. Given how easily Clinton has floated above the law so far – including a magical new “intent to commit espionage” standard invented especially for her, to avoid charging her with gross negligence – that seems like a very remote possibility.