Hillary Clinton

The “Podesta emails” being released daily by Wikileaks have produced their first bona fide “smoking gun” — a long email by Clinton Foundation associate Doug Band detailing the manner in which Bill Clinton was using the foundation’s connections as a way to build up personal clients for speech giving and consultancy.

In the email — part of a harvest of emails to and from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, over the past eight years — Band, Bill Clinton’s former adviser, detailed the manner in which he had encouraged Clinton Foundation corporate donors to also hire Bill Clinton directly.

Band was responding to accusations that he was enriching himself from his Clinton connections after he started a consultancy, Teneo, which won contracts with key Clinton foundation donors. To refute the charge, Band was detailing how much unpaid work he had done for the foundation, and how much Bill Clinton had earnt off the back of it. Band estimates this to be of the order of $50 million.

The “Band email” comes at the end of a week in which WikiLeaks’s Podesta releases have become increasingly challenging to the Clintons — leading to the belief that WikiLeaks is saving some truly explosive items for the final week of the campaign. Many of the emails simply deal with the infighting between various players in different Clinton factions, or various acts of sycophancy designed to gain a donation — such as arrange for a Clinton Foundation jamboree to take place in Morocco, after the king gave them a $12 million donation.

This week, however, the first very troubling email emerged — concerning a donation given by Virginia governor and close Clinton friend Terry McAuliffe to Jill McCabe, who was running for a Virginia State Senate position. McCabe’s husband was an FBI agent who subsequently became one of the agents part of the investigation into Hillary’s private email server. Hillary’s defenders have pointed out that the appointment of the agent occurred a year after the donation. That does not rule out the possibility that the agent was navigated into the position — although coincidence and closeness of DC circles is the far more likely explanation.

The Podesta emails might well be having an effect on the Clinton image by prompting a slight fall in her polling — to an aggregate lead of 5%, rather than 6%. If there’s more to come, the final 10 days could be a rocky one for camp Clinton.

In other news of general foreboding, the Bundy family militia who occupied a wildlife sanctuary in Oregon in January have been acquitted of various charges — mostly around illegal firearms — arising from the six-week occupation. The acquittal looks like a case of jury nullification; the Bundy family (who staged the Cliven Bundy rebellion against federal laws in Nevada) defended themselves.

The case sets no legal precedent, but it will act as encouragement for any militias planning on staging some form of “resistance” in the wake of a Trump loss. They will be further encouraged by the double standard still operating — protesters (Native American and supporters) occupying land in the path of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline have been greeted with militarised policing, felony charges with decades-long penalties. November 8 won’t even be the beginning of the end of what’s happening now. And next week will be a doozy.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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