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New Emails Suggest More Overlap Between Clinton Foundation, State Department
Several high-dollar donors to the Clinton Foundation were given access to Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, according to a new batch of emails released Monday.
The documents, provided by the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch, are the latest evidence of overlap between Clinton’s work at the State Department and that of the Clinton Foundation.
In one instance, Clinton Foundation top executive Doug Band attempted to secure a meeting between Clinton and Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain, who had donated millions to Clinton charitable efforts.
«Good friend of ours,» Band said in the email.
Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, later replied by saying that a meeting had been set up. In the emails, Abedin served as a go-between for several other Clinton Foundation donors who sought to meet with Clinton.
Hillary Clinton was U.S. secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. She says she kept her work at the State Department separate from that of the Clinton Foundation, which does philanthropic work around the globe.
Her Republican presidential rival, Donald Trump, has used the issue to paint Clinton as corrupt, saying she was engaging in «pay-to-play» practices with donors.
On Monday, Trump renewed his call for the Clinton Foundation to be shut down, repeating his accusation that the charity group represents a conflict of interest for Clinton.
«It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt political enterprise in history,» Trump said Monday. «What they were doing during Crooked Hillary’s time as secretary of state was wrong then, and it is wrong now. It must be shut down immediately.»
The foundation last week announced it would stop accepting foreign and corporate donations if Hillary Clinton were elected president. It also said her husband, former President Bill Clinton, would step down from the group’s board.
That hasn’t been enough to satisfy many critics. This week, the left-leaning Huffington Post became the latest media outlet to call for the Clinton Foundation to be shut down, joining the editorial boards of the Boston Globe and the New York Post.
«It’s pretty obvious the Clinton Foundation has presented loads of problems and conflicts of interests for Hillary Clinton so far,» said Larry Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. «They would be far better off just shutting it down. But they’re not willing.»
No smoking gun?
Earlier email releases suggested State Department aides to Clinton looked into doing favors for Clinton Foundation donors or those linked to donors. But nothing has shown that the favors were actually granted.
Most of the accusations have focused on two separate instances.
Shortly after Clinton stepped down as secretary of state in 2013, the State Department expressed interest in, but didn’t follow through with, buying real estate from a Nigerian company run by a man whose brother donated at least $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.
In another instance, Clinton Foundation official Band asked a top Clinton aide at the State Department about getting a job for an individual whom he said it was «important to take care of.» The individual, whose name was redacted in the email, was subsequently sent «options,» according to a reply by Abedin, the State Department aide. The outcome of the apparent job placement effort is not clear.
Clinton herself has not been implicated in any of the emails.
Clinton hits back
Clinton campaign officials have firmly denied any wrongdoing, saying any decisions by Clinton were made without considering the influence of donors. More recently, they also have begun to use the issue as a way to launch counterattacks on Trump’s business dealings.
«The Clinton Foundation is a charity that helps people around the world. It’s already announced major steps it’ll take if Clinton wins,» Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said on Twitter. «Trump’s businesses exist to enrich himself, involve a web of shady connections, and he still hasn’t committed to divesting his holdings.»
The billionaire Trump has said that, if elected president, he would hand over control of the Trump Organization to his three oldest children, who also are involved with their father’s presidential campaign.