National Security

Critics see signs of improper ties in new Clinton emails

Republicans are seizing on a new collection of emails from senior aides to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, which they say show signs of corruption between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation.

At least three of the 44 new email exchanges released by conservative group Judicial Watch this week show a potentially inappropriate connection between senior State Department officials and people with ties to the Clinton family.

{mosads}In one case from early 2009, the former “body man” to ex-President Bill Clinton who helped to create the Clinton Global Initiative asked Hillary Clinton’s State Department aides to “take care of” an unidentified associate as a “favor.”

In another message, the same man — Doug Band — asked Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills to connect a foundation donor and Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire with the State Department’s “substance person” on Lebanon.

And in the third case, the chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia sent Clinton a copy of testimony he was due to provide to Congress, and asked to help with her work “in any way I can.” The next day, Clinton asked Abedin about “connecting” with him in Beijing, either at the “embassy or other event.”

The “newest email scandal exposes pay for play connections,” GOP nominee Donald Trump’s campaign blared to reporters on Wednesday.

“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,” added Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Short, in a statement.

The new emails add to the evidence of overlap between Clinton’s activities, which have dogged her throughout the presidential race.

In June, Clinton and the State Department came under fire for new signs that the former secretary of State had pushed for a financial trader and bundler of her 2008 presidential campaign to be appointed to an intelligence advisory board, despite his apparent lack of qualifications.

The trader, Rajiv Fernando, was added at the “insistence” of Clinton’s office, a State Department official said in the newly released emails 

“Couldn’t he have landed a spot on the President’s Physical Fitness Council?” Clinton aide Philippe Reines joked in an email at the time, which was released this summer. 

For Clinton’s critics, the steady drip of revelations suggests that the Democratic presidential nominee was trying to hide her discussions by deleting roughly 30,000 emails from the private server housed at her New York home. The new emails released by Judicial Watch this week were not among the thousands of work-related emails she gave to the department for recordkeeping in 2014.

“She views public office as nothing more than a means to personal enrichment — and every dollar she takes comes at the expense of the public welfare,” Stephen Miller, the national policy director for Trump’s campaign, said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

“This 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.”

The FBI uncovered an undisclosed number of the deleted emails during the course of its yearlong investigation into possible mishandling of classified information, including “several thousand” that appeared work-related and ought to have been handed over to the State Department.

Many of those emails are the subject of ongoing open records lawsuits, though it is unclear whether they will be made public by Election Day in November.

“The department recently received documents from the FBI reflecting emails sent to or from former Secretary Clinton’s email, which were not included in the materials provided to the State Department by former Secretary Clinton in December, 2014,” department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday.

“There are many [Freedom of Information Act] requests related to former Secretary Clinton’s emails. We are now focused on responding.”

The State Department has maintained that Clinton’s ties outside of the government did not have any impact on her role as the nation’s top diplomat.

FBI Director James Comey this summer declined to say whether the bureau was investigating the possibility of improper ties between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation.

However, the email saga has dragged on for longer than a year, and eroded much of the public trust in her. Ongoing focus on her server or ties to the Clinton Foundation is only likely to intensify that criticism.

“In the law, you know, one is allowed to draw an adverse inference when a witness or a party destroys evidence. And given some of the corruption we have seen in both the Clinton Foundation and in the government under Hillary Clinton, I think it’s reasonable for Americans to draw an adverse inference,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said on Fox News on Tuesday evening.

“She set up an email server specifically to avoid public scrutiny and that the controversy between her email on one hand, and the Clinton Foundation on the other, are not two distinct controversies.

“Those are the same controversy.”

Tags Bill Clinton Donald Trump Email controversy Hillary Clinton Tom Cotton
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