Tuesday, August 30, 2016

“Clinton-State Foundation”: More Facts

Clinton Aides -- Foundation Friends -- Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin
With the catchy title “Aiding and Abedin,” Steve Hayes in the conservative Weekly Standard adds further detail to the “Department of Clinton-State” scandal.

First Hayes provides background. In Bill Clinton’s last year (2000), he wanted to visit South Asia. He would be the first president since Jimmy Carter in 1978 to do so. But he would skip Pakistan because General Pervez Musharraf had seized power in a military coup there six months earlier.

The New York Times on February 18, 2000 noted that while "Pakistan has been lobbying hard in Washington” for a visit, Clinton was right to stand firm, given Pakistan’s failure to return to civilian rule. But four days later, Hillary Clinton, speaking at a private home gathering on Staten Island, said she hoped her husband would change his mind.

The gathering was a $1,000-per-plate fundraiser hosted by prominent Pakistani New York doctors, who admitted lobbying for a presidential stop in Pakistan. The fundraiser was for Hillary Clinton, then a U.S. Senate candidate, and organizers knew they needed to raise $50,000 for her to show up.

Two weeks after Hillary Clinton expressed her “hope,” the White House announced the president would visit Pakistan. While the White House insisted Hillary Clinton's views had no bearing on her husband's decision, in a New York Times follow-up under the headline "Donating to the First Lady, Hoping the President Notices," the paper wrote of Hillary Clinton's candidacy: "While her husband still occupies the White House, people may seek to influence his policies by making donations to her Senate campaign."

And that’s exactly why the Pakistani hosts moved their fundraiser to before the president’s final South Asian schedule decision.

Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the Clinton Foundation followed this very pattern: people influenced her foreign policy by donating to the Foundation. Clinton and her top aides, in Hayes’ words, “eagerly provide special access to Clinton Foundation donors” because those donors gave to the  Foundation.

In 2009, Clinton’s cabinet nomination focused on the Foundation. "The main issue related to Senator Clinton's nomination that has occupied the committee has been the review of how her service as secretary of state can be reconciled with the sweeping global activities of President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation," said Senator Richard Lugar, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s ranking Republican. People “may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state."

Republicans wanted strong assurances and a detailed statement of rules. But Democrats, happy to leave things vague, won. And now we have Clinton's unequivocal July claim: "There is absolutely no connection between anything that I did as secretary of state and the Clinton Foundation."

We earlier showed how in the person of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, the supposed “firewall” between the Foundation and Clinton’s State Department apparently didn’t exist. Hayes provides more evidence:
  • In June 2012, Hillary Clinton's chief of staff Cheryl Mills flew to New York City to interview two candidates to lead the Foundation. Also, Laura Graham, the Foundation’s chief operating officer, left 148 telephone messages for Mills between 2010 and 2012 —the two-year period for which State provided records. Not only do the records leave out calls when Graham and Mills connected, but also Graham’s 148 messages were far more than those left by any other person. 
  • Director James Comey said the FBI recovered thousands of work-related emails that Clinton failed to turn over, but many others were deleted. While the FBI director nonetheless assured the public "there was no intentional misconduct" in email sorting, Comey acknowledged: "They deleted all e-mails they did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery.” 
  • Clinton’s team used "BleachBit," a technology that, according to its website, allows users to "shred files to hide their contents and prevent data recovery" and "overwrite free disk space to hide previously deleted files.” It means that Clinton, who took virtually no precautions to safeguard her emails while on her server, “BleachBitted” her withheld emails, doing so two years after leaving State, and only when she realized otherwise the government would see them. 
Comment: It’s called “obstruction of justice.”

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