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Clinton’s Cash for Access Diplomacy

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds • USAToday

Back in July, Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “there is absolutely no connection between anything that I did as secretary of state and the Clinton Foundation.”

On Monday of this week, ABC’s Liz Kreutzer reminded people of that statement, as a new batch of emails reveal that there was a connection, and it was cash. As the emails, recovered by the public-interest law firm Judicial Watch, demonstrate, people who made donations to the Clinton Foundation got preferential treatment, and access, at the State Department when Hillary was Secretary of State:

The Abedin emails reveal that the longtime Clinton aide apparently served as a conduit between Clinton Foundation donors and Hillary Clinton while Clinton served as secretary of state. In more than a dozen email exchanges, Abedin provided expedited, direct access to Clinton for donors who had contributed from $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. In many instances, Clinton Foundation top executive Doug Band, who worked with the Foundation throughout Hillary Clinton’s tenure at State, coordinated closely with Abedin. In Abedin’s June deposition to Judicial Watch, she conceded that part of her job at the State Department was taking care of “Clinton family matters.”

Call logs show that Hillary’s chief of staff at the State Department was in constant contact with the Clinton Foundation, talking about “sensitive” meetings and State Department business.

Meanwhile, in an entirely separate email scandal, the FBI found almost 15,000 more emails that Hillary had not turned over from her unauthorized and illegal private email server. As Stephen L. Hayes noted, this illustrates a series of email lies that are catching up with Hillary: She originally said she only used one device to keep things simple (she actually used two), that she didn’t send or receive classified emails on the system (but she did, quite a lot of them, in fact, and many of them highly sensitive), and that she had turned over all work-related emails (except for the 14,900 just discovered by the FBI — and, who know, perhaps many others we haven’t discovered yet.) As ABC’s Rick Klein notes, despite Hillary’s claims that it’s not a big deal, it’s a big deal.

Now she has another story: That she set up her home-based private email server on advice from former Secretary of State Colin Powell. But Powell says that’s bunk. “Her people have been trying to pin it on me. . . . The truth is, she was using [the private email server] for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did.”

And what Powell did was use his personal AOL account, not set up an entire secret non-government server to dodge Freedom of Information Act requests, as Hillary did.

Given that it’s been obvious for a while that Hillary was trying to keep her emails out of the public eye, the question has been what she was trying to hide. The answer, at least in part, appears to be her practice of selling access to her in her official capacity via donations to her “nonprofit” foundation.

Maybe there’s more, and maybe we’ll find out what it is. Although the State Department is saying that it may not manage to make these newly “discovered” emails public before the election, Hilary’s lax email security means that copies are almost certainly in the hands of hackers for foreign intelligence services, including (but probably not limited to) Vladimir Putin’s.

If so, will Putin release key items in order to help Donald Trump win the election? Or will he sit on them, and use the threat of disclosure later to secure leverage over a President Hillary? The prospect of either (but, I suspect, especially the first) must be causing Hillary and her supporters some heartburn. And it shouldn’t help the rest of us sleep at night either.