Clinton Cash Revisited, National Security Edition
Back in May, I had the opportunity to see a screening of Clinton Cash, the documentary based on Peter Schweizer's book of the same title. I wrote about it in this space here. Now that the commentariat is finally beginning to catch up with reality -- at last count, there were five, count 'em five, FBI investigations into the machinations of the money factory known as the Clinton Foundation -- I thought it might be worth briefly revisiting the subject.
In May, I asked my readers: "Are you worried about 'money in politics'?" If so, I suggested that they "Stop the car, get an extended-stay room, and take a long, hard look at the Clintons’ operation for the last sixteen years":
How did they do it? By “reading The Wall Street Journal” (classical reference)?
Not quite. The Clintons have perfected pay-to-play political influence peddling on a breathtaking scale. Reading Clinton Cash (which I recommend) is a nauseating experience.
At the center of the book is not just a tale of private greed and venality. That is just business as usual in Washington (and elsewhere). No, what is downright scary is way the Clintons have been willing to trade away legitimate environmental concerns and even our national security for the sake of filthy lucre.
It's this last item that's most worrisome.
That the Clintons are a greedy, money-hoovering machine has been clear since they left the White House with cartloads of swag in tow (the exact amount is disputable, that they did so is not). There are some who say her mishandling of classified material is no big deal -- it's just a technicality, who really cares? Can't we put this behind us? Can't we move on? At this point, what difference does it make?
Well, there used to be such people. If they still exist, they are scarce on the ground now.
Thanks to WikiLeaks and some recent FBI revelations, it is now clear that Hillary Clinton's mishandling of classified material was no casual act of inadvertence. It was not, as she at first claimed with false naiveté, done simply as a matter of convenience by someone who was technically ill-informed and maladroit.
No, the whole process was a thoroughly calculated tactic.
Given what we know now, there is something slightly nauseating about watching clips of Clinton lie when asked about her emails.
One classic is this clip, in which, when asked about whether she wiped her server, she said coyly: "Like with with a cloth or something?" She knew all about wiping servers, since her IT guys employed a sophisticated tool called BleachBit to do the job. (The company even uses an image of Hillary Clinton at their web page.)
Scrutinize Clinton's performance in this clip. In a way, it's quite masterly. Watch how she coolly modulates between impatience, naiveté, evasion, and outright lies. We turned over the server, she says, what more can we do? "We turned over everything that was work related, every single thing."
We now know (well, we've always known, but now we really do know) that assertion is a lie. Not just an untruth, but a deliberate lie.
It's hard to know what is the most brazen thing about her behavior. Turning over a server for investigation after having it professionally wiped is a candidate for the prize.
But for my money, the most outrageous thing was responding to a congressional subpoena by destroying 33,000 emails. (Andy McCarthy lays out the whole story with his customary clarity here.)
The revelation by the FBI last week that material that could be "relevant" to the Clinton email investigation had been found on a laptop shared by Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her estranged husband -- amateur photographer and pen-pal to pubescent multitudes Anthony Weiner -- propelled the story to a new and vertiginous stage. Apparently, we are talking about 650,000 emails. How many had to do with yoga routines? How many concerned State Department business? How many did Anthony Weiner see or share? These are just a few of the questions prompted by this ever more bizarre story.
The really amazing thing about the Clintons' greed is how cavalier it has made them about national security issues.
"Oh, that's just a despicable right-wing talking point," I sometimes hear.
Well, here's what that well known right-wing publication The New York Times had to say in a long and devastating story about the how the Clintons sold out some twenty percent of American uranium assets to a Russian company controlled by Vladimir Putin.
“At the heart of the tale,” the Times reported:
... are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.
Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies.
Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Worried yet? It gets worse:
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million.
Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors.
Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
And people worry that Donald Trump had a few nice things to say about Vladimir Putin.
The Clintons, to feather their own nest, have actually empowered Putin. Extraordinary. Despicable. Disqualifying.