The emails -- which have come to light because of a public records request by the conservative group Citizens United, which sued the State Department to get the documents -- show just how far Bill Clinton was willing to go to earn those lucrative fees -- seeking approval for appearances with ties to two of the most brutal countries in the world.
One email sent in June 2012 to Clinton State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills from Amitabh Desai, a foreign policy director at the Clinton Foundation, passed on an invitation for a speaking engagement in Brazzaville, Congo.
The catch? The dictators of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo would both be attending -- and required photos with Bill Clinton. The speaking fee? A whopping $650,000.
The Harry Walker Agency, which worked with Clinton on coordinating his speeches, recommended declining the invite, noting the particularly grim human rights record of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its leader, Joseph Kabila.
A second email thread in May 2012 shows another potentially thorny event -- subject line: "North Korea invitation."
“Is it safe to assume [the U.S. Government] would have concerns about WJC accepting the attached invitation related to North Korea?” Desai wrote in an e-mail to Mills and two other State Department officials –Jake Sullivan, then-director of Policy Planning Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff, and Michael Fuchs, then a special assistant to the Secretary of State who now serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Strategy and Multilateral Affairs in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Mills two-word response? "Decline it."
ABC News reported that staffers with former President Clinton confirmed that he didn’t deliver a speech to North Korea. The article also mentioned that Huma Abedin, one of Hillary's closest aides, inquired in the emails if the former president could deliver the speech in the Congo, but donate the speaking fee to their foundation. Yet, while giving a speech to a country that deceived you in every way regarding its nuclear weapons program is a bit awkward, the Congo speech proposal presents a problem regarding Hillary’s latest salvo about women, Republicans and terrorists.
The former first lady recently said that the 2016 Republican field’s views on women’s issues are akin to the ones held by terrorists. Now, we have emails showing that former President Clinton wanted approval to collect $650,000 from Congo, whose civil wars have been spotlighted for its infamous use of rape against the civilian population. It was widespread and absolutely brutal. But Republicans are terrorists for holding pro-life views remember?
While Clinton tried to fire off a “war on women” salvo yesterday, it has since turned into a squib load, with other members of the media, including CNN’s Ryan Lizza and Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin, calling it an outrageous comparison–and something that should be strongly condemned.
Joe Scarborough noted that this hyperbole was done to pivot the press towards something other than her email fiasco, which reached a new level today when the FBI announced that their investigation is going to include whether the former first lady violated parts of the Espionage Act regarding the “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information."
So, Clinton's war on women diversion is botched, and the email story is still on everyone's minds.
Take a bow, Team Clinton.