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Topic: Sidney Blumenthal

What Else Was on Hillary’s Second E-Mail?

When we found out that Hillary Clinton used a private email for work purposes while serving as secretary of state, it was possible to argue that there was nothing improper about it even if it was hard to explain. The deletion of tens of thousand of those emails that were said to be personal and the wiping of the home server on which they were contained was a lot to harder to explain and raised questions about what might have been on the missing messages. But the news that Clinton had a second active private email account during this same period despite assurances to the contrary from her lawyer and the presidential candidate that there was nothing more to learn about this affair should set off even more alarms. The use of the second address was discovered in the investigation of the involvement of veteran Clinton machine hit man Sidney Blumenthal in formulating policy toward Libya during the period preceding the Benghazi terror attack. The deeper we dive into the tangled affairs of the Clintons, the more complications and lies we discover.

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When we found out that Hillary Clinton used a private email for work purposes while serving as secretary of state, it was possible to argue that there was nothing improper about it even if it was hard to explain. The deletion of tens of thousand of those emails that were said to be personal and the wiping of the home server on which they were contained was a lot to harder to explain and raised questions about what might have been on the missing messages. But the news that Clinton had a second active private email account during this same period despite assurances to the contrary from her lawyer and the presidential candidate that there was nothing more to learn about this affair should set off even more alarms. The use of the second address was discovered in the investigation of the involvement of veteran Clinton machine hit man Sidney Blumenthal in formulating policy toward Libya during the period preceding the Benghazi terror attack. The deeper we dive into the tangled affairs of the Clintons, the more complications and lies we discover.

The existence of another account is not, in and of itself incriminating. But the Clinton Camp’s insistence that there was only one private account that she worked on when the story about her emails broke in March is now coming back to haunt her. After assuring the country that the [email protected] address was the only one that contained both her work and private messages, we now know there was another — [email protected] — that was employed for communicating with Blumenthal and distributing the memos he wrote about Libya to State Department staffers.

As I wrote yesterday, the Blumenthal story is a startling example of how the world of Clinton Cash works. Blumenthal was a former high-ranking staffer in Bill Clinton’s White House who was well known for his attempts at character assassination of the president’s critics. He remained part of the Clinton orbit and was, by 2012, working for the Clinton Foundation as well as private groups promoting Hillary’s political agenda. At the same time, he was also serving as an advisor to Secretary of State Clinton on Libya policy, bringing up serious conflict of interest issues. But the conflict went further than just that. While seeking to influence Hillary on Libya, Blumenthal was involved in a business proposition in that country that required State Department help to succeed. The scheme fell through but his involvement with the secretary was still highly improper and open to serious questions about whether lines that should have separated private financial interests and public policy were crossed.

But now we have the additional question of what other sort of business was being conducted on the second email and why Clinton and her camp didn’t acknowledge its existence or purpose when she initially sought to defuse the issue. This is not merely, as Clinton’s use of private email for official work was, a breach of protocol. The revelations now move the story into one about lies and conflicts of interest that must be fully explained.

In a sign of the pressure Clinton is starting to feel from the momentum of a scandal that is beginning to snowball on her that she actually took five questions from the press today at a campaign event in Iowa. This interlude of talk in what was, as far as transparency was concerned, a silent movie of a presidential campaign, didn’t give us much information. She spoke about wanting the State Department to speed up the release of the 55,000 pages of emails that she returned to the government after leaving office. That’s all well and good, but still left unexplained are the tens of thousands of emails that were deleted because she and her staff claim they were personal. Nor did we get an explanation about the use of the second email other than her somewhat disingenuous claims that Blumenthal’s emails to her were “unsolicited.” A consultant’s emails of advice about Libya — a country about which he knew little other than the information that his business associates fed him — for which he was being paid are solicited by definition. So even as she sought to deflect criticism for her refusal to answer questions for weeks, she added to the pile of inconsistencies

In the days and weeks ahead, partisan Democrats will continue uttering their mantra that there is no proof that what Clinton did was illegal. But the Blumenthal story has begun a process in which previous Clinton statements are starting to be exposed as fallacious. Americans have a right to know why a man being paid by the Clinton family foundation — which acted as a slush fund for Bill, Hillary and Chelsea — was also being employed by the State Department to advise her on an issue on which he had a private business interest. Just as important, we need to know what other emails were sent from the second account and how many of them were permanently deleted by the former First Lady’s staff in violation of State Department procedures.

It is still possible to believe that the Blumenthal emails uncovered by the New York Times were not part of a wider correspondence that might shed light on the Clinton Cash allegations of conflict of interest by Bill and Hillary involving the massive sums that were paid to them in speaking fees and donations to a foundation that is a thinly veiled political slush fund. But until we have these questions answered, an ethical cloud will continue to hang over the Clinton presidential campaign.

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How Did Clinton Conflict of Interest Schemes Work? Ask Sidney.

For the past two years, liberals have been laughing at Republican attempts to link Hillary Clinton to something incriminating or at least embarrassing about the Benghazi terror attack. But, as we saw with the issue of her emails that was uncovered by the investigatory efforts of the House special committee on Benghazi there is still plenty for her to be concerned about. Today, the latest shoe dropped in a depressing drip, drip, drip of scandal. As the New York Times reports, longtime Clinton family hit man Sidney Blumenthal was simultaneously advising Hillary on Libya during her time serving as secretary of state while also by employed by the Clinton Foundation and also working for other independent groups that were laying the groundwork for her presidential campaign. At best, this blatant conflict of interest raises questions, in the words of the Times, about the “blurry lines between business, politics and philanthropy that have enriched and vexed the Clintons and their inner circle for years.” At worst, it’s another sordid example of the corruption and bad judgment at the heart of the Clinton machine’s style of governing.

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For the past two years, liberals have been laughing at Republican attempts to link Hillary Clinton to something incriminating or at least embarrassing about the Benghazi terror attack. But, as we saw with the issue of her emails that was uncovered by the investigatory efforts of the House special committee on Benghazi there is still plenty for her to be concerned about. Today, the latest shoe dropped in a depressing drip, drip, drip of scandal. As the New York Times reports, longtime Clinton family hit man Sidney Blumenthal was simultaneously advising Hillary on Libya during her time serving as secretary of state while also by employed by the Clinton Foundation and also working for other independent groups that were laying the groundwork for her presidential campaign. At best, this blatant conflict of interest raises questions, in the words of the Times, about the “blurry lines between business, politics and philanthropy that have enriched and vexed the Clintons and their inner circle for years.” At worst, it’s another sordid example of the corruption and bad judgment at the heart of the Clinton machine’s style of governing.

That Blumenthal, a disreputable political assassin who earned notoriety for his antics while serving in the Clinton White House, worked as a paid consultant to the State Department on Libyan affairs is interesting by itself. It would take a Venn diagram to adequately illustrate the conflicts his employment by Clinton involved. Yet as the Times notes, he had already been barred from a job in the State Department by intervention by aides to President Obama who apparently had a more highly developed sense of smell, if not impropriety than Mrs. Clinton. But his role at the State Department involved more than a questionable taste in advisors:

Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government. The venture, which was ultimately unsuccessful, involved other Clinton friends, a private military contractor and one former C.I.A. spy seeking to get in on the ground floor of the new Libyan economy.

The projects — creating floating hospitals to treat Libya’s war wounded and temporary housing for displaced people, and building schools — would have required State Department permits, but foundered before the business partners could seek official approval.

It is not clear whether Mrs. Clinton or the State Department knew of Mr. Blumenthal’s interest in pursuing business in Libya; a State Department spokesman declined to say. Many aspects of Mr. Blumenthal’s involvement in the planned Libyan venture remain unclear. He declined repeated requests to discuss it.

But interviews with his associates and a review of previously unreported correspondence suggest that — once again — it may be difficult to determine where one of Mr. Blumenthal’s jobs ended and another began.

The Times goes on to detail the rather tangled web that Blumenthal and his associates wove. But the main questions we should be asking is what on earth was someone knee deep in a bizarre Libyan business scheme acting as an advisor to the secretary of state about a country with which he had previously had little to do.

Blumenthal was writing intelligence memos about Libya that were largely the product of the opinions of his business associates. Some of the memos he wrote made sense. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who would be murdered by terrorists in the Benghazi attack, shot others down. But whether or not they made sense, Clinton circulated them to her department as gospel, appended with notes praising their insight. But whether they were right or wrong, it is simply astonishing that someone who was on her family foundation payroll as well as working for other political outfits aimed at furthering her political future was put in a position where he could influence policy related to his business interests.

At the very least, this merits serious questions about the Clintons’ already notorious lack of ethics. We don’t know where one Blumenthal job ended and another began. All we do know is that he was getting paid by a number of different sources as well as the government while seeking to make profits enabled by the whims of Hillary’s State Department. The fact that the scam fell through before he could start raking in the profits is beside the point.

As the Times reports, Blumenthal’s role also breached a number of normal barriers intended to prevent conflicts of interest as well as measures that might seek to probe the reliability of intelligence sources.

This story illustrates how the Clinton Cash way of governing works. Clinton’s defenders rightly say there is no “smoking gun” proving that the secretary paid off donors to her family foundation with favors or biased decisions. But the way Blumenthal snaked his way through a complicated labyrinth of consulting jobs for the foundation, political operations and the government illustrates how unnecessary it was for there to be such a piece of damning evidence whether or not it was ultimately deleted from Clinton’s infamous home email server.

We know the Clinton Foundation was used as an informal political slush fund for Bill, Hillary and their daughter to which wealthy foreign donors hoping for and sometimes getting favors contributed. But the more we learn about the Blumenthal connection and other Clinton Cash hijinks, its clear that the once and would-be future First Family and their cronies consider philanthropy and the government just two interchangeable ATM’s they can use at will.

While Democrats may continue to dismiss all questions about the propriety of this sordid tale, even many liberal partisans must be beginning to wonder about what sort of person it is that they are trying to put back into the White House.

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Once-Triumphalist Democrats Face Bleak Election Outlook

The widely respected political analyst Charlie Cook, writing in the wake of political developments throughout the last week, says this:

In the world of economics, a virtuous circle is created when a series of positive events triggers a self-perpetuating pattern of other good occurrences — a positive feedback loop, in other words. A vicious circle, of course, is just the opposite and appears to be what Democrats are caught in these days.

Cook goes on to say that in the House, he is still forecasting that Democrats will lose “only” 20 to 30 seats (when Republicans lost 30 seats in 2006, it was said to be a landslide). But he adds:

Another half-dozen or more retirements in tough districts, however, perhaps combined with another party switch or two, would reduce Democrats’ chances of holding the House to only an even-money bet. We rate 217 seats either “Solid Democratic” or “Likely Democratic,” meaning that the GOP would have to win every single race now thought to be competitive to reach 218, the barest possible majority. But if Democrats suffer much more erosion in their “Solid” and “Likely” columns, control of the House will suddenly be up for grabs.

The political troubles for Obama and the Democrats continue to mount, so much so that many people would not be surprised by a repeat of what happened in the 1994 mid-term elections, where Democrats lost more than 50 House seats and control of the House of Representatives. Today’s Democratic Party is in worse shape — and arguably considerably worse shape — now than it was then.

“Today,” proclaimed the Democratic strategist James Carville not all that long ago, “a Democratic majority is emerging, and it’s my hypothesis, one I share with a great many others, that this majority will guarantee the Democrats remain in power for the next 40 years.” Sidney Blumenthal, author of The Strange Death of Republican America, declared, “No one can even envision when the Republicans will control the presidency and both houses of the Congress as they did as recently as 2006.” And Michael Lind added this: “The election of Barack Obama to the presidency may signal more than the end of an era of Republican presidential dominance and conservative ideology. It may mark the beginning of a Fourth Republic of the United States.”

If so, the Fourth Republic of the United States — unlike the French Fourth Republic – will not have lasted long or turned out well.

Republicans should not succumb to the same intoxication that Democrats did in 2008. Politics is a fluid business; a lot can change in a hurry. But right now there is no question that Obamaism and the Democratic Party are in very dangerous territory — and if present trends continue, 2010 will be a monumentally bad year for both.

The widely respected political analyst Charlie Cook, writing in the wake of political developments throughout the last week, says this:

In the world of economics, a virtuous circle is created when a series of positive events triggers a self-perpetuating pattern of other good occurrences — a positive feedback loop, in other words. A vicious circle, of course, is just the opposite and appears to be what Democrats are caught in these days.

Cook goes on to say that in the House, he is still forecasting that Democrats will lose “only” 20 to 30 seats (when Republicans lost 30 seats in 2006, it was said to be a landslide). But he adds:

Another half-dozen or more retirements in tough districts, however, perhaps combined with another party switch or two, would reduce Democrats’ chances of holding the House to only an even-money bet. We rate 217 seats either “Solid Democratic” or “Likely Democratic,” meaning that the GOP would have to win every single race now thought to be competitive to reach 218, the barest possible majority. But if Democrats suffer much more erosion in their “Solid” and “Likely” columns, control of the House will suddenly be up for grabs.

The political troubles for Obama and the Democrats continue to mount, so much so that many people would not be surprised by a repeat of what happened in the 1994 mid-term elections, where Democrats lost more than 50 House seats and control of the House of Representatives. Today’s Democratic Party is in worse shape — and arguably considerably worse shape — now than it was then.

“Today,” proclaimed the Democratic strategist James Carville not all that long ago, “a Democratic majority is emerging, and it’s my hypothesis, one I share with a great many others, that this majority will guarantee the Democrats remain in power for the next 40 years.” Sidney Blumenthal, author of The Strange Death of Republican America, declared, “No one can even envision when the Republicans will control the presidency and both houses of the Congress as they did as recently as 2006.” And Michael Lind added this: “The election of Barack Obama to the presidency may signal more than the end of an era of Republican presidential dominance and conservative ideology. It may mark the beginning of a Fourth Republic of the United States.”

If so, the Fourth Republic of the United States — unlike the French Fourth Republic – will not have lasted long or turned out well.

Republicans should not succumb to the same intoxication that Democrats did in 2008. Politics is a fluid business; a lot can change in a hurry. But right now there is no question that Obamaism and the Democratic Party are in very dangerous territory — and if present trends continue, 2010 will be a monumentally bad year for both.

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