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Lots of Smoke Here, Hillary

Prediction: If Hillary Clinton wins, within a year of her inauguration, she will be under investigation by a special prosecutor on charges of political corruption, thereby continuing a family tradition.

For consider what the Associated Press reported this week:

The surest way for a person with private interests to get a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, or a phone call returned by her, it seems, was to dump a bundle of cash into the Clinton Foundation.

Of 154 outsiders whom Clinton phoned or met with in her first two years at State, 85 had made contributions to the Clinton Foundation, and their contributions, taken together, totaled $156 million.


Conclusion: access to Secretary of State Clinton could be bought, but it was not cheap. Forty of the 85 donors gave $100,000 or more. Twenty of those whom Clinton met with or phoned dumped in $1 million or more.

To get to the seventh floor of the Clinton State Department for a hearing for one’s plea, the cover charge was high.

Among those who got face time with Hillary Clinton were a Ukrainian oligarch and steel magnate who shipped oil pipe to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions and a Bangladeshi economist who was under investigation by his government and was eventually pressured to leave his own bank.

The stench is familiar, and all too Clintonian in character.

Recall. On his last day in office, January 20, 2001, Bill Clinton issued a presidential pardon to financier-crook and fugitive from justice Marc Rich, whose wife, Denise, had contributed $450,000 to the Clinton Library.

The Clintons appear belatedly to have recognized their political peril.

Bill has promised that, if Hillary is elected, he will end his big-dog days at the foundation and stop taking checks from foreign regimes and entities, and corporate donors. Cash contributions from wealthy Americans will still be gratefully accepted.

One wonders: will Bill be writing thank-you notes for the millions that will roll in to the family foundation—on White House stationery?

By his actions, Bill is all but conceding that there is a serious conflict of interest between his foundation raking in millions that enhance the family’s prestige and sustain its travel and lifestyle, and providing its big donors with privileged access to the secretary of state.

Yet if Hillary Clinton becomes president, the scheme is unsustainable. Even the Obama-Clinton media might not be able to stomach this.

And even Clinton seems to be conceding the game is up. “I know there’s a lot of smoke, and there’s no fire,” she said in self-defense this week.

She is certainly right about the smoke.

And if, as Democratic apparatchik Steve McMahon assures us, there is “no smoking gun,” no quid pro quo, no open-and-shut case of Secretary Clinton taking official action in gratitude to a donor of the family foundation, how can we predict a special prosecutor?

Answer: we are not at the end of this scandal. We are at what Churchill called the “end of the beginning.”

Missing emails are being unearthed at State, through Freedom of Information Act requests, that are filling out the picture Clinton thought had been blotted out when her 33,000 “private” emails were erased by her lawyers.

Someone out there, Julian Assange, Russia, or the rogue websites doing all this hacking, is believed to have many more explosive emails they are preparing to drop before Election Day.

And why is Clinton is keeping her State Department calendar secret from the AP, if it does not contain meetings or calls she does not want to defend? She has defied requests, and the AP had to sue to get the schedule of her first two years at State.

Moreover, the AP story on the State Department-Clinton Foundation links was so stunning it is sure to trigger follow-up by investigative journalists who can smell a Pulitzer.

Then there are the contacts between Huma Abedin, her closest aide at State, and Doug Band at the Clinton Foundation, the go-betweens for the donor-Clinton meetings, which has opened a new avenue for investigators.

These were unearthed by Judicial Watch, which is not going away.

The number of persons of interest involved in this suppurating scandal, which has gone from an illicit server, to a panoply of Clinton lies to the public that disgusted the FBI director, to erased emails, to “pay for play,” and now deep into the Clinton Foundation continues to grow.

All that is needed now, to bring us to an independent counsel, is calls for the FBI to reopen and broaden its investigation in light of all that has been revealed since Director Comey said there was not evidence enough to recommend an indictment.

If Clinton controls the Justice Department, calls for a special prosecutor will be resisted, but only until public demand becomes too great.

For there were independent counsels called in Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the scandals that led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

Hillary Clinton says there is no fire. But something is causing all that smoke.

Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority [1].

24 Comments (Open | Close)

24 Comments To "Lots of Smoke Here, Hillary"

#1 Comment By Brian J. On August 26, 2016 @ 12:44 am

Yes, something is causing that smoke, Pat. You.

Oh, and your boy’s 10 points down and falling. Night!

#2 Comment By EngineerScotty On August 26, 2016 @ 1:58 am

The interesting thing about the Clinton Foundation “scandal”:

Were the pay-to-play allegations true, and it were a Super PAC or a campaign committee instead of a charity– it would be business as usual in Washington.

But this article is just more smoke.

#3 Comment By Scott in MD On August 26, 2016 @ 6:20 am

If Clinton gets elected, she will be under investigation prior to the inauguration. The Republicans will use their hold on the house to start several investigations on November 9.

However, the GOP (continuing a party tradition) will cruise right past several true issues, and lock onto the one thing they believe will hold the most shock value. This will turn out to not be provable, or not be all that interesting to anyone but die-hard GOP supporters, and she will exit the investigations as powerful, if not more so, than before.

There are plenty of reasons to investigate the Clinton machine, but if you expect this clown show to do it competently I have a bridge to sell you…

#4 Comment By collin On August 26, 2016 @ 9:47 am

No this one is backfiring already as most of the donors were people HRC would have met anyway, including Nobel Peace winners! and the 89 out of 154 people has not been released. And the article does not note any mischief but that there were meetings! Or that there are a ton of other government officials have spouses that run well run charities. Matt Yglesias has de-bunked this one a lot and my guess disappears relatively quickly.

This is as worthless evidence as Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.

#5 Comment By Johann On August 26, 2016 @ 9:50 am

Hillary will win, and it will be more than business as usual. Influence peddling and pay to play will accelerate. The neocon money will flow into the system and foreign policy will be a debacle. We may very well be approaching WWIII.

The economy will continue to hollow out due to central bank hubris, government stimulus, and non-free trade deals. Income inequality will get worse. The middle class will continue to shrink.

We are well on our way to third world status.

#6 Comment By Hal Fiore On August 26, 2016 @ 10:47 am

Yep, lots o’ smoke. That’s about all y’all got anymore.

#7 Comment By LouisM On August 26, 2016 @ 11:20 am

If Hillary is elected, then I think she will be impeached as Obama should have been impeached.

#8 Comment By Clint On August 26, 2016 @ 11:41 am

The Clintons’ appear to be serial grifters, who don’t play by the rules and depend on distraction of low information voters, their government allies and a lap dog media to cover their trail.

#9 Comment By JLF On August 26, 2016 @ 12:07 pm

This article, like so many others on other sites, is more the wish, praying to be father of the deed. Just using Benghazi as a example, there have been investigations following investigations, each producing no actionable results, yet each concluding there must be something there to find if only they could open the right file, interview the right witness, turn over the right rock. In every sense Clinton Derangement Syndrome preceded Obama Derangement Syndrome, both frustratingly and maddeningly impotent to change anything, and neither likely to abate with time.

#10 Comment By Samuel Hooper On August 26, 2016 @ 1:06 pm

After leaving office, Bill Clinton could have devoted his energies to Habitat for Humanity (like Jimmy Carter) or thrown his energies into helping an existing organisation (like the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation). He didn’t, because he wanted the “fruits” of his philanthropic work to accrue to him and his family. And so it is not unreasonable to ask exactly what those fruits are, especially those gained while Hillary Clinton was serving as the nation’s chief diplomat.


#11 Comment By Caroline walker On August 26, 2016 @ 1:51 pm

Honest to God question: what great gestures of global humanitarianism have been underwritten by cgi? Seriously. All this talk about millions sloshing around, I’ve never heard about a single thing they’ve done, other than stage symposia.

#12 Comment By Noreastern On August 26, 2016 @ 2:12 pm

A Vox.com article was published Wednesday completely eviscerating the quoted AP story.

Three of the meetings were with the head of a microlending bank.
” Yunus not only won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize but has also been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Congressional Gold Medal. In 2008 he was No. 2 on Foreign Policy’s list of the “top 100 global thinkers,” and Ted Turner put him on the board of the UN Foundation. He’s received the World Food Prize, the International Simon Bolivar Prize, and the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord.”

Two meetings were contained in this quote from Vox:
“Equally banal is this finding: “[I]n December that same year, Schwarzman’s wife, Christine, sat at Clinton’s table during the Kennedy Center Honors. Clinton also introduced Schwarzman, then chairman of the Kennedy Center, before he spoke.””

#13 Comment By Steve Thompson On August 26, 2016 @ 2:41 pm

Here is an article that quite succinctly explains, in her own words, Hillary Clinton’s views of America’s role in the world:
Under a Clinton II presidency, long-term international turmoil and confrontation lie ahead no matter what their family foundation may attempt to achieve.

#14 Comment By bt On August 26, 2016 @ 3:36 pm

Of course the GOP will start investigating HRC if she’s elected.

It is, essentially, the only thing that the GOP congress does.

They certainly don’t spend any time passing legislation or appropriation bills or confirming judges or passing authorizations for our splendid little wars or…


I’m still hoping that Trump so nukes the GOP that they will be forced to stop doing what they have been doing for the last 20 years. Trump is after all a secret agent who was spurred to his mission after a special phone call with Bill Clinton. I think that needs to be investigated, don’t you?

#15 Comment By GregR On August 26, 2016 @ 5:19 pm

Caroline asked

“Honest to God question: what great gestures of global humanitarianism have been underwritten by cgi? Seriously. All this talk about millions sloshing around, I’ve never heard about a single thing they’ve done, other than stage symposia.”

CGI is the world leader in driving down the cost of HIV/AIDS medicines for the 3rd world. They do a lot here and in partnership with a lot of other groups so you can’t credit them with all the benefits, but they are the clear leaders in helping drive the cost of retrovirals from $1000/person to $100/person in the developing world.

CHI is also credited with helping to ensure a steady supply of the drugs by buying in bulk then reselling them as needed at cost. Basically they allow the manufacturers to make huge quantities at a time, and get huge bulk discounts, then CGI wharehouses the drugs until they are actually needed.

The WHO estimates between 11 and 12 million people worldwide are helped by this program.

CGI through another initiative arranged for about $5 billion/year in corperate financing to help 3rd world cities reduce energy usage. Basically CGI acts as a clearing house to fund renovation of governement buildings world wide to be more energy efficient. So LED lighting, insulation, more efficient AC, etc. they also provide a clearinghouse of knowledge on best practices, and can help introduce people to experts like architects and engineers that can help.

CGI helped raise about $150 million for New Orleans post Katrina.

Provide educational assistance for about 1 million women world wide.

A large part of what they do is organizational not directly financial. Basically Bill Clinton has used his ability to walk into board rooms and presidential palaces all over the world to take a top down approach to global issues. By pulling in CEO’s of major world companies and governmental heads into the same room and asking them to focus on some problem.

Yes the Clintons have used their star power and contacts to help work this. And there may be some legitimate knashing of the teeth that this is how the world works, but it just is. A Russian billionaire can almost certainly get a call from our Secretary of State. Heck, any Billionaire in the world can probably get a call from out SOS and that has always been true. This time, maybe they had to pony up a few million bucks to get the call back on their time schedule. But the insestuious nature of politics and the financial world has been well known for about 2,000 years. This is nothing new.

In a similar vein, how easy do you think it was for the CEO of Halliburton to get a call back from VP Cheeny?

#16 Comment By Clint On August 26, 2016 @ 5:31 pm

FBI Director James Comey has decided to flex his muscles and ignore the DoJ’s request that he cease investigating the Clinton Foundation for criminal activity.

multiple FBI investigations are underway involving potential corruption charges against the Clinton Foundation. The investigation centers on New York City where the Clinton Foundation has its main offices and while prosecutorial support will come from various U.S. Attorneys Offices, the New York-based probe is being led by Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Bharara is best known for securing corruption convictions against the former New York Democrat State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the former New York Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

#17 Comment By Myron Hudson On August 26, 2016 @ 7:16 pm

Prediction… of course. It’s an industry. It creates jobs.

After 25 years of this I’m no longer at the edge of my seat. All I hear are boys crying “wolf, wolf..”.

#18 Comment By Keith Crossley On August 26, 2016 @ 11:53 pm

So – Hillary, in two years met “154 outsiders”. That would be about one person a week! What the heck was she doing the rest of the time? Where does Buchanan pull these figures from?

#19 Comment By Bet Mulligan On August 27, 2016 @ 11:16 am

I dunno, Pat. The kind of money that sloshes around the Clintons can buy a lot of silence and complacency. And the newspapers are going broke.

If someone really does dig up indictable stuff on Hillary, they’ll have to self-funding and immune to corruption. Good luck with that.

#20 Comment By Mitch On August 27, 2016 @ 12:46 pm

Ummmm – not that a special prosecutor wouldn’t be called for….but exactly WHO would appoint one? What Attorney General would go along?

Try reading a little something called the US Constitution – then take a measure of the R’s leading in Congress.

Now how likely do you think a special prosecutor would be???

#21 Comment By Jennifer Doll On August 27, 2016 @ 2:10 pm

True statements about the Clinton Foundation but two of the three major players are on a short ticket to the graveyard given their serious health issues,,, so it won’t matter. However, the Clinton Foundation will be properly investigated and prosecuted for what it truly is, ‘a money laundering’ scheme for political access.

#22 Comment By JanineC On August 27, 2016 @ 2:54 pm

Wow! Some of the most ignorant comments I have ever seen! There is so much evidence out there of the Clintins’ corruption. Yes, there is a 5 alarm fire out there! Even if you don’t look at the pay to play schemes, there is so much more the foundation has done that is despicable. They exploited poor countries during disasters, where they and their friends made millions and little, if any, help went to the victims in need–see India and Haiti, for example.. Or how about all that defective (and virtually worthless) AIDS medicine they provided Africa (mostly to a country that had the least problems with the epidemic)? Or the tainted blood that went to Canada, killing hemophiliacs? It’s clear people only see what they WANT to see. A lot of folks here don’t care about truth…they just want their leftist leader to win regardless of how evil she is.

#23 Comment By elizajane On August 27, 2016 @ 7:50 pm

Caroline Walker, Material on the web about the Clinton Foundation’s activities is ample. Here are a few items:

**Clinton Development Initiative staff in Africa train rural farmers and help them get access to seeds, equipment and markets for their crops.
**Clinton Climate Initiative staff help governments in Africa and the Caribbean region with reforestation efforts, and in island nations to help develop renewable energy projects.
**Staff at the Clinton Health Access Initiative, an independent, affiliated entity, work in dozens of nations to lower the cost of HIV/AIDS medicine, scale up pediatric AIDS treatment and promote treatment of diarrhea through life-saving Zinc/ORS treatment. They have made this medicine affordable to over 10 million people in Africa.
**Clinton Health Matters staff work with local governments and businesses in the United States to develop wellness and physical activity plans.
They have also raised money for research into new vaccines, supplied pre- and post-natal care, & treated 36 million people with tropical diseases.

Much more information is available on their own website or even on wikipedia. CharityWatch has recently given the foundation an “A” rating. It expends 88% of its funds on actual programs, a high rate for a big charity.

If you’re looking for “great gestures of global humanitarianism” you are looking for something Trump might do — a gesture. Clinton is more into detail work and effecting actual change, and that seems to be what the foundation does.

#24 Comment By Emilio On August 28, 2016 @ 9:32 pm

This is storytelling and logic reminiscent of when Bush flew the bin Ladens home right after 9/11. Also, don’t forget building 7. The number seven is usually loaded with profound cosmic significance and mystical power, so it has to be true. Some of my acquaintances were informed that Israelis were evacuated with advance knowledge, and foreknowledge. They had a priori knowledge of the hijackers’ movements and technical methodologies, some people say. That’s what some of these various people are saying, that’s what I’m hearing from thousands and thousands of them in some cases, in other cases, not so much, but certainly thousands and thousands of certain kinds of people say these things and other things like this, all the time.