You can take the girl out of the Clinton Foundation, but you can’t take the Clinton Foundation out of the girl, or something like that. Cheryl Mills long time consigliere to Bubba and Hillary Clinton, Ms. Clinton’s chief-of-staff at State, and a member of the board of directors of the Clinton foundation from 2009-2013, shared information with the Clinton Foundation which is now deemed as classified (redacted emails embedded below). Actually the info should have been labeled classified from the time it was written.
According to the emails obtained by Citizens United via a freedom of information act (FOIA) lawsuit and reported by Politico, Mills forwarded State Department background information about Rwanda and the Congo to the Clintons’ philanthropic organization.
Former President Bill Clinton was visiting Africa, including Rwanda, around the time that Mills sent the email, which was mostly redacted. Former president Clinton was also considering giving Rwandan President Paul Kagame a plenary role at the Clinton Global Initiative, according to the emails.
“Fyi for [Bill] since he is in contact w/Kagame,” Mills wrote in an email chain dated July 28, 2012, forwarding to the foundation a message originally written to State employees under the subject “Developments in the Eastern Congo.”
“Thanks,” Ami Desai, the foundation’s director of foreign policy, wrote back. “He has been talking about giving Kagame a plenary role at CGI” [Clinton Global Initiative].
The information in the 2012 emails was classified by the State Department in July of this year because of national security and foreign policy reasons, according to the documents. The classification specifically related to foreign government information and intelligence activities, sources or methods, according to the redaction labels.
Last week the Washington Free Beacon last week reported about a different email between Mills and the Clinton foundation that is now classified but not marked classified when it was sent (but it should have been based on the content).
That email chain dated July 11, 2012 seems to be intended for Clinton specifically. Johnie Carson, an assistant secretary of state for the bureau of African affairs, asked Mills what she thought about them encouraging Bill Clinton to use his trip to Rwanda on July 18, 2012 to “in his private conversations with Kagame to quietly encourage him to defuse the tension with the DRC” and “terminate any [direct] or indirect to support to DRC.”
For those of you who are thinking, “They weren’t classified when she shared the info,” you are correct. However these emails should have been classified from the start, because information about foreign governments is always considered classified from inception. And that’s something that the number two person in the state department should know. After all one would imagine that most emails coming out of the state department are about foreign governments.
Beyond the classification issue, Republicans and other transparency groups have questioned whether the foundation’s work, funded in part by foreign donors, ever influenced what happened at the State Department. Or if the foundation received preferential treatment.
Mills sat on the foundation’s board before becoming the department’s No. 2 official and returned to the board after leaving State in 2013. And she appeared to continue to advise the foundation while at State, according to other emails revealed by the Citizens United lawsuit. Republicans say those connections between Mills and the Clinton Foundation raise questions about whether the relationship was too close.
“The fact that these two email chains — which are now classified — were sent only 16 days apart, makes it appear as if the sharing of sensitive government information with the Clinton Foundation was a regular occurrence,” David Bossie, president of Citizens United, said in a statement. “Time will tell as more emails become public.”
While neither of these email chains are a smoking gun in the growing scandal about emails in the Hillary Clinton-run state department. They are also evidence of the laissez-faire attitude toward classified information under Mrs. Clinton’s reign, and the very close relationship between Foggy Bottom and the Clinton Foundation that was laid out in Peter Schweitzer’s book Clinton Cash.