Various issues surrounding the controversial private email server as well as big-ticket foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation remain unresolved for Hillary Clinton as she announced her Hillary 2016 presidential run today.
Last month’s press conference about “Servergate” prompted criticism of the former Secretary of State across the ideological spectrum, even from many of her usual allies in the mainstream or legacy media, with many of those pundits insisting that the explanation didn’t add up. There have been so many developments/clarifications since then that it’s challenging for the average person to keep up or process it all.
For example, Clinton – who is on a 2007 video assailing the Bush administration for secret email addresses — initially claimed she opted for one personal email address rather than a state.gov government account for convenience, but on an earlier video she admitted traveling with four devices. Moreover, anyone who owns a smartphone knows you can link more than one email address to one device.
While Team Clinton apparently cherry-picked which of thousands of emails to turn over to the State Department, while deleting thousands of others that were allegedly of a personal nature, it subsequently was revealed that the server in question itself was wiped clean, this after the House Benghazi committee sought access to it as part of the ongoing investigation.
CNN’s John King offered this analyssi about the email controversy that doesn’t seem to be going away.
“To the point about the emails…she still has some explaining to do on that one to the Congress. I, personally, think it’s inexcusable for somebody who was the keeper of government records–If you made the decision to keep those records on a private server in your home, you don’t get to be the only person who decides this is the government’s property, this is my property. You needed somebody with a clean set of eyes, independence to do that.”
To make matters worse in terms of national security, Lt. General Michael Flynn has insisted that it is very likely that Clinton’s private server which presumably contained classified government information was hacked by Russia, China, North Korea, or Iran. “As a military officer, if I said I was doing something for convenience’s sake to the soldiers that I was leading and it was solely for my convenience instead of their, you know, their welfare, I should be relieved of duty. I would expect to be fired,” the former head of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency declared.
Congressman Trey Gowdy, the House Benghazi committee chair, claimed last month that no emails have been emerged for the day when Hillary Clinton was famously photographed checking her BlackBerry aboard a U.S. government jet. “If you think to that iconic picture of her on a C-17 flying to Libya, she has sunglasses on and she has her handheld device in her hand. We have no emails from that day. In fact, we have no emails from that trip. So it strains credibility to believe that if you’re on your way to Libya to discuss Libyan policy, that there’s not a single document that’s been turned over to Congress.”
Gowdy’s committee has subpoenaed any Clinton communications related to Libya.
On Friday, Gowdy indicated that Hillary Clinton would be expected to testify on Capitol Hill soon about the Benghazi terrorist attacks in which four Americans, including the ambassador, were murdered. “Secretary Clinton’s decision to seek the presidency of the United States does not and will not impact the work of the committee. The Committee needs to and expects to talk with Secretary Clinton twice, as ensuring the committee has all relevant material is a condition precedent to asking specifically about Libya and Benghazi,” Gowdy affirmed.
Ironically, the former U.S. Ambassador to Kenya was allegedly forced out of his diplomatic post in part because of his use of a private email system in violation of State Department policy. Said Scott Gration, [Clinton aide Cheryl Mills] “obviously knew Secretary Clinton was using commercial e-mail, yet she stated my use of Gmail was one of the reasons I had to move on.”
A related controversy also developed over whether Hillary Clinton signed a separation form upon quitting the State Department, which would have required to return all government materials, which would extend to data. The State Department has indicated it has “no record” of the form in question, OF-109, in her personnel file. “Falsely certifying that one has turned over all such documents, which is what Clinton would have done if she signed such a document at the time of her departure, is a federal crime,” Townhall noted.
The Servergate “disconnect” has emerged against the backdrop of the Clinton Foundation accepting ethically questionable large donations from foreign countries (and multinational corporations), which were simultaneously lobbying the U.S. government before, during, and after Hillary served as America’s top diplomat in the Obama administration. There is much speculation that the allegedly deleted emails could provide evidence of a conflict of interest in that regard.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, despite Mrs. Clinton’s reputation as a champion of women’s issues, several of the countries making Clinton Foundation donations, including Algeria, have questionable human rights records, particularly in the context of women’s rights, and/or have “complicated diplomatic, military and financial relationships with the U.S. government,” as the Washington Post noted.
Added the New York Times, “But the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation has accepted tens of millions of dollars in donations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Algeria and Brunei — all of which the State Department has faulted over their records on sex discrimination and other human-rights issues.”
“The Clinton Foundation reportedly accepted millions of dollars from a Colombian oil company head before then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to support a trade deal with Colombia despite worries of human rights violations,” The Hill reported on one such donation from Pacific Rubiales.
The International Business Times provided more detail on this transaction.
“The details of these financial dealings remain murky, but this much is clear: After millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation — supplemented by millions more from [Pacific Rubiales founder Frank] Giustra himself — Secretary Clinton abruptly changed her position on the controversial U.S.-Colombia trade pact. Having opposed the deal as a bad one for labor rights back when she was a presidential candidate in 2008, she now promoted it, calling it ‘strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.’ The change of heart by Clinton and other Democratic leaders enabled congressional passage of a Colombia trade deal that experts say delivered big benefits to foreign investors like Giustra.”
A contribution from Morocco has also raised eyebrows, according to the New York Post.
“[A] major phosphate company owned by the Moroccan government has just pledged at least $1 million to the foundation. In 2011, Clinton’s State Department assailed Morocco as a corrupt state guilty of ‘arbitrary arrests and corruption in all branches of government.’ Women in Morocco are still subjugated by Islamic rule, yet last September, Hillary Clinton’s public stance on the government had changed.”
As part of the run-up to Clinton’s White House announcement today, she is apparently putting distance between herself and the foundation, however. “Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation moved swiftly Friday to begin cutting ties as she prepares to announce her candidacy for president, amid mounting criticism over millions of dollars in foreign donations that have poured into the foundation’s coffers,” Yahoo! explained.
In mid-March, the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit against the State Department to gain access to documents and emails related to Mrs. Clinton’s time as Secretary of State.
Freedom Watch is also suing Hillary Clinton in federal court over the emails. “The conservative group Freedom Watch has filed a racketeering lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that accuses her of failing to produce documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The civil suit, filed [March 25] in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, argues that Clinton used her private emails to sell access to other officials in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation.”
Reacting to the Clinton Foundation fundraising issue, the National Journal asked “What did these companies and countries expect in return for their cash? Did the Clintons promise any favors? Those are fair questions—not partisan questions and not media ‘gotcha’ questions. The Clintons are responsible for the management of their foundation. Hillary Clinton is responsible for stashing her emails in a secret server. She is running for president. The rest of us should follow the money.”
Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating has recently seen a decline, but polling this far out is generally meaningless.
Do you think either of these controversies or scandals — depending upon what terminology you wish to embrace — will have a significant effect on the Hillary 2016 campaign?
[image via Twitter]