Harry Reid’s explanation of how John Kerry and State are violating the Hatch Act will be awesome. Just days after the FBI notified Congress about a trove of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, the State Department suddenly released over three hundred e-mails last night. The Washington Examiner reports that the new release includes messages between Hillary and Huma Abedin that were not disclosed prior to now — and they came via a separate FOIA fight:
State Department officials produced 323 pages of correspondence from Hillary Clinton‘s tenure on Monday, including previously undisclosed emails between Clinton and top aide Huma Abedin that have since been classified. …
At least one of those was an email chain Clinton sent Abedin that has since been classified. In it, Clinton asked Abedin to print a sensitive memo from informal advisor Sidney Blumenthal about the political situation in Northern Ireland.
This raises even more questions about how Sid Blumenthal had access to classified information. Before, the explanation was that he was on the ground in Libya and was just passing along information he came across, which was already a bit difficult to believe based on the quality of intel he had. Was Blumenthal also running businesses in Northern Ireland, too? Without seeing the actual redactions, it’s difficult to tell whether it might just be coincidental based on publicly available knowledge, but now we have multiple “coincidences” involving Blumenthal and classified intel while Hillary was Secretary of State.
State was forced to release these messages because of a FOIA demand from Judicial Watch, which notes that three exchanges got classified and redacted by State for reasons of national security. The messages not only show that at least some of the deleted e-mails contained classified information, they also demonstrate pay-to-play shenanigans between State and the Clinton Foundation:
The emails also include an exchange between Abedin, Clinton personal assistant Lauren Jiloty, and Iris Anaya, the assistant to sugar magnate and Clinton Foundation donor Alfonso Fanjul concerning a request for special access to Clinton. On October 13, 2009, Anaya emailed Abedin seeking to arrange a meeting between Fanjul, the CEO of Florida Crystals, and Clinton. Jiloty responded the next day, asking that Anaya talk with Clinton scheduler Lona Valmoro about “setting up a meeting.” Fanjul donated more than $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation and was a Bill Clinton co-chairman in Florida.
In an October 26, 2009, email exchange, power attorney and Hillary Clinton financial supporter, Charlie Ann Syprett, contacted Doug Band, apparently seeking help in getting around U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) restrictions on U.S. citizens’ ability to travel to Cuba. Syprett ostensibly wanted a waiver from the restrictions to enable people from her organization, SYC Charitable Foundation, to travel to Cuba, noting “we are not asking for something out of the ordinary.”
The emails also show that Valmoro sent Clinton’s government schedule to the unsecure email addresses of numerous members of the Clinton Foundation staff on October 16, 2009, again on October 18, 2009, and on October 25, 2009. The emails also include discussions of personnel matters and appointments on Clinton’s unsecure account, which may run afoul of federal privacy law.
So … should Harry Reid question the timing and accuse Kerry of violating the Hatch Act, too? The timing does look curious. These records, JW’s Tom Fitton writes, were produced under a court order from May. Had State wanted to settle this before the final week of the election, they certainly had plenty of opportunity to do so.
A better question, though, would be whether the FBI knew about these records before Comey’s announced conclusion of the investigation in early July. It would almost certainly appear so — but if so, why wait until October 31st to release them? And if they did know about these, especially the exchanges between Hillary and Huma Abedin, why didn’t they take a closer look at Abedin and her other devices? Fitton wonders the same thing: “It is frankly remarkable that the FBI and Justice Department are only now investigating Abedin’s connection to Clinton’s mishandling of classified information.”
That does seem pretty remarkable, when put in context. It seems as though the FBI didn’t have much desire to fully investigate Abedin until a completely unrelated probe of her estranged husband dropped a ton of evidence in their laps. That’s certainly one indicator that even with the investigation reopened, observers should not bet on much changing in the end.