paid speeches

October 1, 2018 – Opinion – The FBI refuses to declassify and release 37 pages of memos about Russia, Clintons and Uranium One

Eight years after its informant uncovered criminal wrongdoing inside Russia’s nuclear industry, the FBI has identified 37 pages of documents that might reveal what agents told the Obama administration, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others about the controversial Uranium One deal.

There’s just one problem: The FBI claims it must keep the memos secret from the public.

Their excuses for the veil of nondisclosure range from protecting national security and law enforcement techniques to guarding the privacy of individual Americans and the ability of agencies to communicate with each other.

(…) “I was the reporter who first disclosed last fall that a globetrotting American businessman, William Douglas Campbell, managed to burrow his way inside Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear giant, Rosatom, in 2009 posing as a consultant while working as an FBI informant.

Campbell gathered extensive evidence for his FBI counterintelligence handlers by early 2010 that Rosatom’s main executive in the United States, Vadim Mikerin, orchestrated a racketeering plot involving kickbacks, bribes and extortion that corrupted the main uranium trucking company in the United States. That is a serious national security compromise by any measure.

The evidence was compiled as Secretary Clinton courted Russia for better relations, as her husband former President Clinton collected a $500,000 speech payday in Moscow, and as the Obama administration approved the sale of a U.S. mining company, Uranium One, to Rosatom.

The sale — made famous years later by author Peter Schweizer and an epic New York Times exposé in 2015 — turned over a large swath of America’s untapped uranium deposits to Russia.

Mikerin was charged and convicted, along with some American officials, but not until many years later. Ironically, the case was brought by none other than current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — a magnet for controversy, it turns out.

But the years-long delay in prosecution mean that no one in the public, or in Congress, was aware that the FBI knew through Campbell about the Russian bribery plot as early as 2009 — well before the Obama-led Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approved Uranium One in fall 2010.

Since the emergence of Campbell’s undercover work, there has been one unanswered question of national importance.

Did the FBI notify then-President Obama, Hillary Clinton and other leaders on the CFIUS board about Rosatom’s dark deeds before the Uranium One sale was approved, or did the bureau drop the ball and fail to alert policymakers?

Neither outcome is particularly comforting. Either the United States, eyes wide open, approved giving uranium assets to a corrupt Russia, or the FBI failed to give the evidence of criminality to the policymakers before such a momentous decision.” (Read more: The Hill, 10/01/2018)

October 2014 – Clinton Speech for Deutsche Bank was designed to give cover for Wall Street coziness

The email details how campaign operatives discussed manipulating journalists over her paid speeches to Wall Street banks and was sent on November 20, 2015. (Credit: llP/Flickr)

“Hillary Clinton did a paid speech for Deutsche Bank in 2014 that was written by a speechwriter so she had something to show if people ever asked what she said “behind closed doors for two years to all those fat cats.”

The email sent on November 20, 2015, comes from hacked emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, which were published by WikiLeaks.

“In October 2014, HRC did a paid speech in NYC for Deutsche Bank,” speechwriter Dan Schwerin recalled. “I wrote her a long riff about economic fairness and how the financial industry has lost its way, precisely for the purpose of having something we could show people if ever asked what she was saying behind closed doors for two years to all those fat cats.”

“It’s definitely not as tough or pointed as we would write it now, but it’s much more than most people would assume she was saying in paid speeches.”

Schwerin proposed giving a full transcript of the speech to a reporter so a story would be published that would help her with her image as a pro-Wall Street politician.

“Perhaps, at some point there will be value in sharing this with a reporter and getting a story written. Upside would be that when people say she’s too close to Wall Street and has taken too much money from bankers, we can point to evidence that she wasn’t afraid to speak truth to power. Downside would be that we could then be pushed to release transcripts from all her paid speeches, which would be less helpful (although probably not disastrous).”

“In the end, I’m not sure this is worth doing, but wanted to flag it so you know it’s out there,” he wrote.

Scwherin floated this idea because the campaign believed Clinton needed “more arrows” in their “quiver on Wall Street.” (Read more: Common Dreams, 10/14/16)

In a private speech, Clinton admits it was against the rules for some State Department officials to use BlackBerrys at the same time she used one.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Nexenta OpenSDx Summit, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 (Credit: Noah Berger / The Associated Press)

Clinton speaks at the Nexenta OpenSDx Summit, August 28, 2014. (Credit: Noah Berger / The Associated Press)

Clinton gives a private paid speech for Nexenta Systems, a computer software company. In it, she says, “Let’s face it, our government is woefully, woefully behind in all of its policies that affect the use of technology. When I got to the State Department, it was still against the rules to let most — or let all foreign service officers have access to a BlackBerry.”

The comments will be flagged as potentially politically embarrassing by Tony Carrk, Clinton’s research director, due to Clinton’s daily use of a BlackBerry during the same time period. Although the comment is made in private, Carrk’s January 2016 email mentioning the quote will be made public by WikiLeaks in October 2016. (WikiLeaks, 10/7/2016)

 

March 2014 – January 2015: The Clintons bag at least $3.4 million for 18 speeches funded by Keystone Pipeline banks

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce head office in Toronto, Ontario (Credit: public domain)

(…)”Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and TD Bank—two of the Keystone XL pipeline’s largest investors—fully or partially bankrolled eight Hillary Clinton speeches that “put more than $1.6 million in the Democratic candidate’s pocket,”

(…) “Clinton’s first swing through Canada started on March 5, 2014, with a speech that cost the Vancouver Board of Trade $275,500. While Clinton’s financial disclosure form reported the board as the payer, an invite to the event also lists “presenting sponsors” as TD Bank and Vancouver City Savings Credit Union. Following her speech, Clinton participated in a question-and-answer session hosted by TD Bank Deputy Chairman Frank McKenna.

Frank McKenna (Credit: Wikipedia)

The next day in Calgary, Clinton gave another speech reportedly paid for by tinePublic at a cost of $225,500. McKenna also came along to interview her after the speech. Martin confirmed that TD Bank also sponsored this speech.

In June, Clinton gave a speech in Toronto for a price of $150,000. The primary sponsor was TD Bank, according to an invite. Other sponsors included the Canadian Club of Toronto, Blakes Lawyers, KPMG and the Real Estate Investment Network. For the third time, McKenna interviewed Clinton after the speech.

Clinton went west to the city of Edmonton on June 18 to give another tinePublic-paid speech for a $100,000 price. The chief sponsor of this speech, according to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, was CIBC. Victor Dodig, then senior executive vice president at CIBC, interviewed Clinton on stage after her remarks.

On Oct. 6, 2014, Clinton traveled up north again to speak at a meeting hosted by the liberal think tank Canada 2020. CIBC, which is also a funder of Canada 2020, was the primary sponsor of this $215,500 speech, according to a Canada 2020 web page for the event. Lesser sponsors included Air Canada, the Canadian Real Estate Association, Johnson & Johnson, Ernst & Young, Stampede Group and Telus. Again, Dodig, by then promoted to president and CEO, handled the Q&A session.

Over a span of two days in January, Clinton gave three more speeches — one directly paid for by CIBC and two paid by tinePublic, but sponsored by CIBC. On Jan. 21, she spoke in Winnipeg for $262,000 and then Saskatoon for $262,500. The next day she spoke at that CIBC event in Whistler for $150,000 — the only speech directly reported on her financial disclosure form as having been paid for by a Canadian bank. Dodig pitched questions to Clinton after each of these three speeches.

CIBC and TD Bank both have large energy portfolios and have pushed for the U.S. government to approve final construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would link the Canadian oil sands in Alberta through the middle of the United States to Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.” (Read more: Huffington Post, 5/31/2015)

In a private speech, Clinton says when she got to State Department, employees “were not mostly permitted to have handheld devices.”

Clinton attends a meeting with General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and various business leaders on September 21, 2009. (Credit: public domain)

Clinton gives a private paid speech for General Electric. In it, she says that when she arrived at the State Department as secretary of state, employees “were not mostly permitted to have handheld devices. I mean, so you’re thinking how do we operate in this new environment dominated by technology, globalizing forces? We have to change, and I can’t expect people to change if I don’t try to model it and lead it.”

The comments will be flagged as potentially politically embarrassing by Tony Carrk, Clinton’s research director, due to Clinton’s daily use of a BlackBerry mobile device during the same time period. Although the comment is made in private, Carrk’s January 2016 email mentioning the quote will be made public by WikiLeaks in October 2016. (WikiLeaks, 10/7/2016)

In a private speech, Clinton asks why the computers of a fugitive whistleblower were not exploited by foreign countries “when my cell phone was going to be exploited.”

Clinton was keynote speaker at Goldman Sachs annual dinner that was hosted at the Clinton Global Initiative on September 23, 2013. (Credit: public domain)

Clinton was keynote speaker at Goldman Sachs annual dinner that was hosted at the Clinton Global Initiative on September 23, 2014. (Credit: public domain)

Clinton gives a private paid speech for Goldman Sachs, a financial services company. In it, she says, “[W]hat I think is true, despite [NSA fugitive whistleblower Edward] Snowden’s denials, is that if he actually showed up in Hong Kong [China] with computers and then showed up in Mexico with computers. Why are those computers not exploited when my cell phone was going to be exploited?” (Snowden was on the run from the US government and eventually settled in Russia earlier in 2013.)

The comments will be flagged as potentially politically embarrassing by Tony Carrk, Clinton’s research director, due to later revelations of Clinton’s poor security of her BlackBerry while Secretary of State. FBI Director James Comey will later call her “extremely careless.” Although the comment is made in private, Carrk’s January 2016 email mentioning the quote will be made public by WikiLeaks in October 2016. (WikiLeaks, 10/7/2016)

In a private speech, Clinton says that her department officials “were not even allowed to use mobile devices because of security issues.”

Clinton gives a private paid speech for Goldman Sachs, a financial services company. In it, she says, “[W]hen I got to the State Department, we were so far behind in technology, it was embarrassing. And, you know, people were not even allowed to use mobile devices because of security issues and cost issues, and we really had to try to push into the last part of the Twentieth Century in order to get people functioning in 2009 and ’10.

The comments will be flagged as potentially politically embarrassing by Tony Carrk, Clinton’s research director, due to Clinton’s daily use of a BlackBerry mobile device during the same time period. Although the comment is made in private, Carrk’s January 2016 email mentioning the quote will be made public by WikiLeaks in October 2016. (WikiLeaks, 10/7/2016)

In a private speech, Clinton says she had to leave her phone and computer in a special box when traveling to China and Russia, but there is evidence she sent at least one email from Russia.

Clinton is greeted by Vice-Governor of St. Petersburg Oleg Markov as US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul looks on in St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 28, 2012.

Clinton is greeted by Vice-Governor of St. Petersburg Oleg Markov, as US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul looks on in St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 28, 2012. (Credit: public domain)

Clinton gives a private paid speech for Goldman Sachs, a financial services company. In it, she says, “[A]nybody who has ever traveled in other countries, some of which shall remain nameless, except for Russia and China, you know that you can’t bring your phones and your computers. And if you do, good luck. I mean, we would not only take the batteries out, we would leave the batteries and the devices on the plane in special boxes. Now, we didn’t do that because we thought it would be fun to tell somebody about. We did it because we knew that we were all targets and that we would be totally vulnerable.”

She will make similar comments in a private paid speech on August 28, 2014: “[E]very time I went to countries like China or Russia, I mean, we couldn’t take our computers, we couldn’t take our personal devices, we couldn’t take anything off the plane because they’re so good, they would penetrate them in a minute, less, a nanosecond. So we would take the batteries out, we’d leave them on the plane.”

The comments from both speeches will be flagged as potentially politically embarrassing by Tony Carrk, Clinton’s research director. Although the comments are made in private, Carrk’s January 2016 email mentioning the quotes will be made public by WikiLeaks in October 2016. (WikiLeaks, 10/7/2016)

Based on information from 2016 FBI interviews of Clinton and her aide Huma Abedin, it appears Clinton used her BlackBerry while still secretary of state to send an email to President Obama from St. Petersburg, Russia on June 28, 2012.

April 2013—March 2015: Hillary Clinton is paid more than $21 million for 92 speeches given between April 2013 and 2015

That averages $235,000 per speech. The speeches are given between the end of her time as secretary of state in February 2013 and the formal start of her 2016 presidential campaign in April 2015.

In 2016, Clinton will comment, “Time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that…really comes down to, you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought. And I just absolutely reject that…” (CNN, 2/6/2016)

June 11, 2012 – Bill Clinton seeks State Department OK for paid speeches related to Congo

President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila (Credit: Getty Images)

ABC News has obtained State Department e-mails that shed light on Bill Clinton’s lucrative speaking engagements and show he and the Clinton Foundation tried to get approval for invitations related to two of the most repressive countries in the world — North Korea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

[…]”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 speaking agency’s vetting of the Democratic Republic of the Congo noted the “prevalence and intensity of sexual violence against women in eastern Congo is widely described as the worst in the world.”

Desai forwarded the e-mail to Mills and other State Department employees, including long-time Clinton aide Huma Abedin, asking for state’s opinion on whether Bill Clinton could do the speech but give the money to the Clinton Foundation.

“WJC wants know what state thinks of it if he took it 100% for the foundation,” Desai wrote using Clinton’s initials. “We’d welcome your thoughts.” (Read more: ABC News, 8/28/2015)