Hillary Clinton’s “there’s no evidence of that” line of defense over her email mess continues to crumble in the face of . . . new evidence.
For all her talk of how using a private email account for her work running the State Department was just fine, it’s now plain she left top-secret information vulnerable to hackers.
More evidence is likely to come out. The FBI’s probe has now expanded to include another private server she used, a backup service with Connecticut-based Datto Inc.
And now the Associated Press has confirmed that her main server was the target of repeated cyberattacks from China, South Korea and Germany. And those came after she left office, when her team belatedly agreed to use some threat-monitoring software.
In other news, a FOIA request from the watchdog group Citizens United has uncovered the fact that Hill’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, was forwarding classified info to the Clinton Foundation — so staff there could support Bill Clinton’s work in Africa.
Add to this new details about Hillary’s emails with longtime aide Sidney Blumenthal — emails that somehow didn’t make it into the data she finally handed over once word broke that she’d failed to share her work product with the government.
Her extensive communications with him include the naming of a CIA source (obviously classified) as he pushed for action in Libya — action that would benefit his clients.
“It is curious Secretary Clinton took so much of her advice from someone who had never been to Libya, professed no independent knowledge of the country and who the White House blocked her from hiring,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who heads the select committee trying to finally get to the full facts on the deadly Benghazi attack.
Curious? Hey, in Clintonworld, blending policy with pocket-lining is routine — national security be damned.
And just like that, another Clinton Foundation donor is in the news.
The Clinton global charity has received between $50,000 and $100,000 from soccer’s governing body and has partnered with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association on several occasions, according to donor listings on the foundation’s website.
Involvement with the embattled body extends beyond the foundation to Bill Clinton himself.
The former president was an honorary chairman of the bid committee put together to promote the United States as a possible host nation for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.
When the U.S. lost the 2022 bid to Qatar, Clinton was rumored to be so upset he shattered a mirror. But apparently Qatar tried to make it up to him.
The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, partnering with the State of Qatar, “committed to utilizing its research and development for sustainable infrastructure at the 2022 FIFA World Cup to improve food security in Qatar, the Middle East, and other arid and water-stressed regions throughout the world,” according to the Clinton Foundation website.
The cost of the two-year project is not listed on the Clinton Foundation website, but the Qatar 2022 committee gave the foundation between $250,000 and $500,000 in 2014 and the State of Qatar gave between $1 million and $5 million in previous, unspecified years.
FIFA, which has never been a bastion of ethics, was heavily criticized for awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup to Russia and Qatar, respectively, in part because of their abysmal human-rights records.
The Guardian reported in 2013 about “appalling labor abuses,” including possible forced labor and worker death on Qatar’s World Cup infrastructure projects. It is also considered to be too hot to play soccer in Qatar in the summer.
No Qatari officials have been arrested, but Swiss authorities announced Wednesday that they had opened criminal proceedings into the allocation of the Qatari and Russian World Cups.
They have also seized documents from FIFA’s headquarters and gained access to the Swiss bank accounts of executives they suspect of “unjust enrichment” and money laundering.
Editor’s Note – When the NY Times broke the story about Peter Schweizer’s book entitled ‘Clinton Cash,’ the attacks came immediately from The Clinton camp. Their talking points were flying fast and furiously and many asked how they knew what was in the book when it had not been released in full.
The answer – the Clinton camp had purloined a copy somehow, very early on, and Schweizer knew it. Despite this, the story did not fizzle and even with their web site “The Briefing,” sporting a video attempting to ‘debunk’ the book by Press Secretary Peter Fallon, it is still growing in intensity.
It should grow; if any other person or couple had even the appearance of doing one tenth of what the Clinton’s and their foundation did, every single media outlet would have run already forced a candidate to drop their campaign. Remember Gary Hart and Donna Rice from 1987? That was just an affair and many think his fall from grace was the beginning of the end of civil politics, the “week politics went tabloid.”
Of course with the Clintons, “…there is one set of rules for politics, and another set for real life, you just have to learn to deal with it…”
Now America is dealing with it, but like Bill O’Reilly, we think the FBI must open an investigation. America deserves better, and deserves the truth. We are not going to get it from the media, and the Clintons know it – so does their staff in the ‘war room.’
Inside the ‘Clinton Cash’ war room
How Hillary’s team worked furiously to attack, undermine and debunk the book that threatened to disrupt her campaign.
In early March, weeks before Hillary Clinton even announced her campaign, spokesman Brian Fallon and research director Tony Carrk began holding regular war room meetings with a team of eight volunteers on a serious mission: Fighting back against a forthcoming book, “Clinton Cash,” that threatened to seriously disrupt the campaign in its infancy.
This was an updated version of the famed war room that fought the first round of Clinton scandals in 1992, propelling Bill Clinton to the presidency; now, two months later, aides point to the handling of the “Clinton Cash” threat – a still-unfolding stream of allegations involving the Clinton Foundation and its donors, but one that seems not to have seriously altered perceptions of Hillary – as proof of the campaign’s ability to manage messaging and counter the inevitable blowback of an 18-month campaign.
The campaign systematically raised questions about the objectivity of author Peter Schweizer and, according to sources with knowledge of the deals, strategically leaked details of the book to news outlets to undercut the exclusivity of excerpts given to reporters at The New York Times and Washington Post, who had obtained special deals with Schweizer.
Sources close to Clinton described meetings at her personal office in Midtown Manhattan that were so focused that when Fallon’s twins were born April 8 — four days before Clinton officially launched her campaign — he continued to join the conferences by phone from the hospital in Washington, D.C., despite being on leave.
The game plan at first was two-pronged: debunk author Peter Schweizer by stressing his ties to Republicans and his close friendship with the Koch brothers, while a second group of research and communications operatives pushed positive messages the campaign would roll out while the book was making headlines.
Instead of hunkering down, Clinton would make news herself with a speech on criminal justice — where she called for an end to mass incarcerations — and a newsy speech on immigration, where she vowed to expand on President Obama’s executive actions to include another 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Behind the scenes, the strategy turned from defense to offense in late April, when the campaign caught a break and obtained an early copy of the 256-page book.
At that point, the campaign began pitching its own stories about “Clinton Cash,” and then finally turned to new media to tell its own version of the story.
Campaign operatives leaked single chapters of the book to national media outlets, sources with knowledge of the deals said — a strategy that allowed them to undercut the reporters who, through exclusive agreements with Schweizer, had obtained early copies of the entire tome, and also to attack the content at the same time.
Schweizer, in an interview, said he was aware of the strategy.
“I knew fairly early on they had access to the book,” he said. “Sure, it helped them. They’re famous for that. I was aware they were leaking selectively chapters, particularly as journalists who had access to the full book had contacted them with questions. They didn’t want to share the complete book, just chapters. For me, the power of the book is in the pattern of the behavior.”
Schweizer said he caught on to the strategy when the New York Times investigative team was working on a 4,000-word story about the connection between Clinton donor Frank Giustra and the approval of a sale of a mining company to Russia, which drew from chapters 2 and 3 of his book.
Indeed, the Clinton team was particularly concerned that the Times and Post would use his book as a jumping off point for investigations — coverage that would make it harder for them to simply dismiss Schweizer as a tool of the right.
Just as the New York Times was preparing to publish its investigation of the Giustra matter, “the Clinton team is sending chapter 3 of the book to Time magazine and other reporters,” Schweizer said. “Who gets just one chapter of the book?
They gave them chapter 3 but not chapter 2, which is also on the uranium deal. You’ve got reporters running with stories that didn’t have the full picture. That was the Clinton strategy: to muddy the waters and not have an honest conversation.”
The campaign says that Giustra, the Canadian billionaire whose role in the uranium deal is outlined in chapter 3, sold his stock two years before Clinton was appointed as Secretary of State. Schweizer says that’s only part of the story. “The book talks about nine people who are shareholders, not just Giustra,” he said. “They never mentioned the other eight. They’re mentioned in chapter 2, not 3.”
The goal of aggressively parceling out parts of the book was to generate headlines that could be discredited before the book hit the shelves and before Schweizer went on the television circuit promoting his work.
When Schweizer started making the media rounds on the Sunday shows ahead of the May 5 book release, the Clinton team had managed to get ahead of him to put him on the defensive. “We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action,” “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos said of the claims about the uranium deal with Russia.
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and Fallon published their own posts directly to Medium, to point out what they said were errors and omissions.
During the weeks that various chapters of the book were making headlines, the campaign began releasing nightly memos to surrogates and supporters with stories and commentators on air who had discredited the book, or raised questions about the reporting. In total, the campaign put out five detailed memos to its network.
“In the last two days alone, three new claims by the partisan author of the Clinton Cash book have been discredited by independent news outlets,” read a line in one of the memos.
The final push came on the day of the book’s release. The campaign spent over 96 hours building out “The Briefing,” a website that launched on the day of the book’s release, which included an upbeat video featuring Fallon responding to the book and a supercut of Clinton surrogates and talking heads with the general message: “there’s no there there.”
In the donor world, the painstaking strategy to deal with the book was noticed.
“The campaign didn’t get paralyzed,” said Tom Nides, a vice chairman at Morgan Stanley and a close Clinton confidant who is her main liaison to Wall Street. “They didn’t get in a bunker, they kept supporters up to date daily— it felt very proactive.”
And perhaps most important to the donor class who may have harbored fears about Clinton’s weaknesses on display so early in the campaign, the candidate herself appeared relaxed and confident as she attended fundraisers in Washington and New York City.
“This could have gotten nutty,” Nides admitted. “She herself was a more relaxed Hillary. I’ve gotten universal feedback from these meetings that she’s excited to be there, she hung around. She was supposed to be at the event for an hour-and-a-half, she stayed for almost two hours. She didn’t act like she had to get back to the bunker. She was upbeat, positive, and not defensive. People tee off of that.”
So far, Clinton herself has answered only one question about the book, without referring to it by name. At a campaign stop in New Hampshire last month, she dismissed it and said she expected to be “subject to all kinds of distractions and attacks.” She has not addressed it publicly since then.
But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been on the minds of the staffers and volunteers who manned the war room. As Clinton was speaking about immigration reform at a high school in Las Vegas on Tuesday, her campaign operatives back in Brooklyn waited eagerly on the results of a new poll.
When The New York Times poll popped, showing Clinton’s favorability had risen over the past year, the team from the war room finally exhaled.
“Clinton Cash,” the poll showed, had not had the devastating impact the campaign had feared. After weeks of stories pegged to chapters in the book, only 10 percent of voters said they believed foreign donations affected Clinton’s decisions as secretary of state, according to the poll, and more voters said they saw Clinton as a strong leader than they did earlier in the year.
But Schweizer notes that the themes of the book have now become a part of the Clinton narrative, and could easily pop up later in the campaign — especially as news organizations continue to plumb the Clinton Foundation and its donors.
“I think they have done a very detailed and aggressive campaign to try to undermine the credibility of the book,” Schweizer said. But he pointed to polls showing a relatively high percentage of voters questioning her trustworthiness.
“The narrative is now framed around the foundation and Bill’s speeches, and what role did that have on her decisions at the State Department,” Schweizer said. “My sense is those questions are going to be asked whenever she decides to actually talk to the press.”
Editor’s Note – As the recent bombshells dropping in anticipation of Peter Schweizer’s book “Clinton Cash,” the pressure is mounting on the Clinton campaign and the Clinton Foundation.
Last month the pressure was on Gowdy as well, when he apologized for taking six months to subpoena her emails.
With the new revelations about the Clinton Foundation’s practices and her possible ‘influence peddling,’ coupled with her refusal to appear privately for transcribed testimony, he has ratcheted up the pressure to force her to appear openly in front of the nation now.
It is clear, her emails are pertinent to Benghazi, but now all her emails may reveal much more about Libya and her foundations actions. There may even be a tie to Benghazi. We all anticipate the release of the book; it should be eye-opening.
Trey Gowdy asks Hillary Clinton to appear twice on emails, Benghazi
The House Committee investigating Benghazi is asking Hillary Clinton to appear for two public hearings on the 2012 terrorist attacks and her email use, according to a letter sent to her lawyer on Thursday.
This is a departure from what Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy originally requested from the former secretary of state.
The South Carolina Republican wanted a private, transcribed interview on Clinton’s email use and a public hearing on the terrorist attacks.
But Clinton had refused to appear in private to take questions on her use of a private email address while at the State Department.
Her lawyer, David Kendall, had insisted that Clinton was prepared to take questions about her emails, the server that stored them and the Benghazi attacks during a single, public hearing.
Gowdy wrote to Kendall Thursday saying the committee plans to schedule a hearing by the week of May 18 on the emails.
“If that hearing results in assurances the public record is indeed complete, the Committee will schedule Secretary Clinton’s public hearing with respect to the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi no later than June 18, 2015, with specific date being selected after consultation with you,” Gowdy wrote.
Gowdy added in the letter that he is still willing to hold a private hearing on the emails if Clinton has security concerns about answering sensitive questions in public.
The hearings, if they occur, would generate intense scrutiny on Clinton and the congressional Republicans questioning her.
Democrats will be on watch for any overreach on the part of the panel’s seven GOP members.
Any Clinton appearance on the Hill would spark a media frenzy; her recent entrance into the 2016 presidential race promises to only exacerbate it.
Gowdy said in the letter he wants to quickly schedule Clinton so her interviews are not a protracted affair.
“With her cooperation and that of the State Department and administration, Secretary Clinton could be done with the Benghazi Committee before the Fourth of July,” said Gowdy.
“It is necessary to call Secretary Clinton twice because the committee needs to ensure we have a complete and responsive record and all the facts before we then substantively question her on the Benghazi terrorist attacks.
Editor’s Note – Once again, Andy McCarthy hits the nail on the head. The Clinton Foundation IS best defined as a RICO operation from all we are now learning. Maybe they can “justify” their actions individually, but when you collect all the parts, it is a racket.
The trouble is, would the Department of Justice consider it RICO? Would Loretta Lynch launch an investigation?
She is about to be voted upon for Attorney General finally and may win approval in the Senate, but would she act just like her predecessor, Eric Holder and avoid yet another investigation of a ‘friend of the family’ unlike Senator Menendez?
Okay, so that’s not quite as catchy as Edward G. Robinson’s immortal line. But it is what a good prosecutor would be asking while pondering the growing cloud around Clinton Foundation.
Among Little Ceasar’s imprints on popular culture is that Robinson’s mobster character, Cesare Enrico Bandello, inspired Congress to name its seminal anti-organized crime legislation “RICO” – the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1971. The mafia was its most infamous target, but far from its only target.
RICO makes it a crime to run an organization through what’s called a “pattern of racketeering activity.” The term racketeering is extensively defined in the statute. It includes acts involving bribery, fraud, and obstruction of justice, to name just a few.
Prosecutors are fond of RICO because it enables them to unite disparate illicit or corrupt transactions into one framework, the enterprise. It need not be a mafia family or traditional criminal organization; it can be an ostensibly legitimate organization – e.g., a foundation, a labor union, a corporation, a guild – that, contrary to the image it projects publicly, commits sundry legal offenses in conducting its affairs.
As a matter of fact, if the pattern of offenses includes fraud and influence peddling, then the enterprise’s portrayal of itself as a caring, altruistic charitable foundation can be very helpful to the case. Juries do not like hypocrisy and shady dealing.
They get turned off by “charitable organizations” that turn out, in the main, to be vehicles for their principals to live lavishly, or covers for selling political influence. And juries know charitable organizations tend not to wipe their servers clean even after congressional investigators have instructed them to preserve evidence.
Plus, it is important to bear in mind that, at the moment, the political dimension of the Clinton Foundation scandal transcends the possibility of criminal or civil legal liability. Right now, the Clinton Foundation provides a stark reminder of the last enterprise these characters ran: the Clinton White House. Remember that one?
Campaign finance irregularities, selling influence (remember the Lincoln bedroom?), awarding pardons to fraudsters and terrorists for the purpose of rewarding donors and courting political constituencies, blatant obstruction of justice, and perjury.
You see the Hillary! 2016 campaign launch, you consider what we’re learning about the Clinton Foundation, and you naturally ask yourself: Do we really want to go through this again?
You consider the Clinton Foundation, you think about the State Department – Benghazi, the courting of the Muslim Brotherhood, the secret, unlawful email system, the foreign money pouring into Clinton coffers while Mrs. Clinton was making key decisions about American foreign policy – and you naturally ask yourself: What has Hillary Clinton ever run that did not turn into a debacle?
Finally, we should also consider the Obama administration’s legal standards. As I’ve recently discussed here at Ordered Liberty, the Justice Department has just filed its indictment of Senator Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) on various corruption charges. The prosecution’s theory is that Menendez accepted “things of value” in exchange for using his political influence to benefit a big time donor.
Sen. Menendez counters that he did nothing wrong – i.e., that there is no nexus between, on the one hand, the hefty contributions, private jet rides to ritzy resorts, and other posh gifts he received, and, on the other hand, the use of his office in ways that just happened to favor the donor.
We are still at a very early stage of scrutinizing the Clinton Foundation, but we can already say two things with confidence:
The millions upon millions of dollars the Clinton Foundation has collected from foreign donors and others with significant self-interest in U.S. government policy – during a time when Mrs. Clinton had a key role (and the prospect of an even bigger role) in designing U.S. government policy – makes the gifts to Menendez look like chump change.
To the best of our knowledge, Menendez never withheld his emails from the government or wiped his server clean.
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