Did Bill Clinton’s longtime “body man”/key aide expose the former president as a liar about his activities with Jeffrey Epstein? Or is Doug Band using Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman to exact revenge for getting squeezed out by Chelsea Clinton after a dispute over Band’s Teneo venture? Either way, it’s popcorn-passing time as Band declares what everyone had already assumed — Bill lied about never going to Epstein’s notorious sex-traffic island (via Twitchy):
By the fall of 2011, the rivalry had turned into a war of attrition. Band looked for an advantage anywhere he could find one. The Clintons’ ties to Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell provided one. Band told me he had been trying to push Epstein out of Clinton’s orbit ever since their much-discussed 2002 trip to Africa aboard Epstein’s private 727, dubbed the “Lolita Express.” Band recalled that Epstein had made a bunch of ridiculous claims on the trip, like boasting that he invented the derivatives market. Band said he had no idea about Epstein’s sex crimes back then but got enough bad vibes that he advised Clinton to end the relationship. But Clinton continued to socialize with Epstein and take his money. In 2006 Epstein donated $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Clinton made more than two dozen trips on Epstein’s jet around this time, Epstein’s flight logs show. In January 2003, according to Band, Clinton visited Epstein’s private Caribbean island, Little St. James. Band said it was one of the few trips he declined to go on in his time with Clinton. A Clinton spokesperson said the president had never been to the island and provided detailed travelogue entries of the period in question that did not contain a visit.
Clinton and his team have ferociously denied ever visiting Epstein’s island. They have also attempted to downplay just how often that Bill rode the Lolita Express too, even after documentary evidence shows him as a passenger on dozens of trips. They have only acknowledged four occasions, all of which were supposedly in service of charitable efforts. However, there would be no good reason for Bill to have traveled to the island other than for his own recreation, and so they keep denying he was ever there — even while Virginia Roberts Giuffre insists she saw him on the island, albeit behaving himself at the precise moment.
It’s not the first time that the carefully crafted Clintonworld narrative on Epstein has been contradicted, but it might be the first time that an insider with real access has contradicted it. And it’s not just Bill either. Band also implicates Chelsea Clinton in the Epstein orbit. He tells Sherman that Chelsea wanted access to Maxwell’s wealth and lifestyle, and that he had to intervene to break the ties before they backfired on the Clintons:
Chelsea had ties to Epstein and Maxwell, Band said; he showed me a photo of Bill and Chelsea posing with Epstein and Maxwell at the King of Morocco’s wedding. Chelsea remained friends with Maxwell for years after the press revealed Maxwell was a close associate of Epstein’s. For instance, Chelsea invited Maxwell to her 2010 wedding at the Brooke Astor estate in Rhinebeck, New York, after Epstein had pleaded guilty in Florida to procuring sex from a minor.
“Ghislaine had access to yachts and nice homes. Chelsea needed that,” Band told me. …
In late October 2011, Band instructed Bill Clinton’s office to bar Maxwell from all Clintonworld events as a way of driving a wedge between Maxwell and Chelsea. “I knew in telling everyone to stop including Ghislaine that Chelsea and her father would be very angry. It made it harder for them to justify being close to her,” Band said.
If true, that will become a very real problem for the only potential heir to the Clintons’ political hopes. Tying Chelsea that close to Ghislaine Maxwell, who faces federal prosecution for obstruction in the Epstein case and is accused of being Epstein’s pimp for underage girls, will essentially derail any future electoral prospects if it sticks. After all, the period Band describes took place after Epstein’s initial exposure as a sex criminal, with Maxwell’s role publicly described by accusers even if not pursued by law enforcement. Palling around with Maxwell is the opposite of “girl power,” let’s just say.
But is Band on the level? He has his own axes to grind with Chelsea especially, Sherman reminds us, and vice versa:
“Chelsea hated Doug because he was like a son to her father,” a Clinton friend said. Band took offense that Chelsea treated him at times like hired help. It was a combustible mix that was about to explode into personal grievance. “As a board member, Chelsea had a responsibility to ask questions about Foundation activities she didn’t understand or had reservation about. For some reason, Doug seemed to resent that,” a Clinton spokesperson said.
Around the time Band launched Teneo in June 2011, Chelsea summoned Band and his cofounder Declan Kelly to the Clinton office in Harlem. Band walked in to find Bill flanked by Chelsea and her husband, financier Marc Mezvinsky. According to Band, Chelsea said Band’s $2.5 million offer to put her dad on Teneo’s advisory board wasn’t enough. She wanted Band to give her and Mezvinsky an ownership position in Teneo. To Band, it felt like a shakedown. “I thought she was kidding or deeply sick,” he told me. Band looked across the table at Bill, but he sided with Chelsea. Band refused to give up an equity stake. The meeting ended badly. A Clinton family spokesperson denies that Chelsea asked for equity.
This has been leaking out for years. In 2016, most of this conflict had already made it into the national press. Are they still waging this war? Apparently, which probably should be taken into account with Band’s testimony. After all, as I wrote at that time, it’s not as though Band was Mr. Squeaky Clean when it came to ethical considerations on Clinton Foundation operations prior to his exit.
Still, Band’s testimony clearly corroborates Giuffre’s, and vice versa. And given Clinton’s history of reckless behavior — and lying about it — that makes Band a much more reliable narrator.