New emails show Clinton aide setting up meeting with major foundation donor

Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin worked to facilitate a meeting between her boss and Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain.

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Photo of Prince Salman and Pres. Obama

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When Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain wanted face time with Hillary Clinton in the first months of her time at the State Department, top aide Huma Abedin worked as a go-between for the Clinton Foundation and the secretary of state to facilitate the appointment, working official channels while coordinating with top Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band.

In that instance and several others, 725 pages of emails released Monday by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch showed previously undisclosed email exchanges from Abedin as well as Clinton. The group said there are 20 of the latter.

The new revelations add to the controversy that has swirled around the Clinton Foundation, with Donald Trump and other critics accusing Hillary Clinton of using her position at the State Department to reward major donors through access to other power players.

“Cp of Bahrain in tomorrow to Friday[.] Asking to see her[.] Good friend of ours,” Band wrote Abedin on her State Department email address on June 23, 2009.

Abedin responded the same day, a Tuesday, that the crown prince had asked to see Clinton through “normal channels” on Thursday and Friday.

“I asked and she said she doesn’t want to commit to anything for thurs or fri until she knows how she will feel. Also, she says that she may want to go to ny and doesn’t want to be committed to stuff in ny [sic],” Abedin wrote via her State account, following up that she meant “stuff in dc.”

Band responded to the first message, “Cool.”

Two days later, on June 25, 2009, Abedin wrote Band: “Offering bahrain cp 10 tomorrow for mtg [with ] hrc[.] If u see him, let him know.”

“We have reached out thru official channels,” Abedin added in the same message.

Band responded: “Nice[.] Abdullah is his guy[.] He’s great[.]”

Salman’s scholarship program, established in 2005, had by 2010 committed more than $32 million to the Clinton Global Initiative.

Clinton’s campaign pushed back at the notion that the emails revealed anything improper. “Once again this right-wing organization that has been going after the Clintons since the 1990s is distorting facts to make utterly false attacks,” Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin said in a statement to POLITICO. “No matter how this group tries to mischaracterize these documents, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton never took action as Secretary of State because of donations to the Clinton Foundation.”

The State Department disputed similar allegations and inferences as well.

“I mean, I guess I would just once again emphasize that there wasn’t a single channel for access to the secretary of state than Secretary of State Clinton,” deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters. “And for senior aides working at the department at the time to have … connections with the Clinton Foundation, which by the way was working on, for example, Haiti relief, post-earthquake, pretty significant role in that, in fact, only speaks to the fact that these were, you know, important people who had reason to convey information to the secretary. There was nothing that we have seen that implied any kind of untoward relationship.”

Bahrain has been a critical U.S. ally for decades. The U.S. Fifth Fleet, which oversees American naval operations in the Middle East, is based there, and the U.S. has designated Bahrain as a “major non-NATO ally.”

The security relationship with the U.S. is considered so vital that American leaders were criticized for not being more vocal when the Bahraini government cracked down on Shiite Muslim-led protesters demanding government reforms as part of the Arab Spring movements in 2011. As the protests raged in Arab countries that year, Clinton defended the relatively limited U.S. response to crises in Bahrain and Syria, pointing out that the U.S. has different interests in different countries. “It would be foolish to take a one-size-fits-all approach and barrel forward regardless of circumstances on the ground,” she said.

The U.S. did restrict arms sales to Bahrain to express its displeasure over human rights abuses in 2011, but it has eased that ban in the years since after determining that the government in Manama made notable progress in implementing reforms. Although they came to a head in 2011, the tensions in Bahrain — where the majority of the population is Shiite Muslim but the monarchy is led by Sunnis — had existed for years before the Arab Spring, including at the time of the email exchanges.


Trump on Monday called on the Clintons to “shut down The Clinton Foundation”

Clinton has been dogged by a steady stream of headlines around the Clinton Foundation, which stated last week that it would not accept foreign companies’ and corporations’ donations if Clinton is elected.

Before the latest revelations hit, Trump on Monday called on the Clintons to “shut down” the foundation. “It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history,” he said in a statement released by his campaign. “What they were doing during Crooked Hillary’s time as Secretary of State was wrong then, and it is wrong now. It must be shut down immediately.”

The Clinton campaign fired back, questioning Trump’s own assets?!

“The Foundation has already laid out the unprecedented steps the charity will take if Hillary Clinton becomes president,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said in a statement. “Donald Trump needs to come clean with voters about his complex network of for-profit businesses that are hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to big banks, including the state-owned Bank of China, and other business groups with ties to the Kremlin.”

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