Hillary Camp is Looking for Russians Under Every Bed. They Might Want to Start with John Podesta’s

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It’s a truism that American politicians have short memories. It is equally true the same can be said of the U.S. news media.

Hillary Clinton and her associates have pivoted from a botched Russian “reset” (bearing the fingerprints of campaign chairman John Podesta) to relentless accusations that the Russkies snatched presidential victory away from their clutching fingers.

There’s plenty of circumstantial evidence leading investigators to surmise the Russians played a role in hacking the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton Foundation.

While leaps of logic abound about Putin’s potential motivations–everything from destabilizing the election process to a vendetta against Hillary Clinton to an attempt to get Trump installed as president–one thing has been missed in most of the news media about questions of foreign influence in the U.S. election: What about the Clinton campaign?

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A Wall Street Journal commentary article from October made some concerning points about John Podesta, a wily political operative who also founded the Center for American Progress and has ties to the Clinton Foundation. As the WSJ article points out:

The story begins in 2011 when the solar energy startup Joule Unlimited announced that Mr. Podesta had been elected to its board of directors. In a company press release, Joule’s CEO at the time lauded Mr. Podesta’s “extensive experience within the US government and internationally as well.” No one claimed Mr. Podesta was a scientific expert, but the company’s founder expressed the hope that their new associate “can help Joule build the lasting relationships needed for long-term success.”

A former White House chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, Mr. Podesta at the time was running the Center for American Progress, which supported the Obama administration’s “Russian reset.” Mr. Podesta personally lauded the effort to “build a more constructive relationship” with Russia at a 2009 event hosted by his think tank.

WikiLeaks emails showed that Podesta made a financial disclosure to the White House, and part of this disclosure is that he transferred shares to a newly formed entity Leonidio Holdings, LLC., which was based at the same address as his daughter Megan Rouse.

In 2014, Podesta issued a statement that he had “transferred the entirety of his holdings to his adult children” and then “recused himself from all matters pertaining to Joule for the duration of his time at the White House.”

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As the Wall Street Journal article explains, Podesta nonetheless received a bill for legal expenses related to Leonidio Holdings. As author James Freeman muses, “We wonder how often people pay the bills to create corporations in which they have no interest.”

Podesta’s business interests are not the only connection the Clinton campaign had to Russia. There is the matter of how the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation obtained licensing rights to U.S. Uranium deposits that had been off-limits before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State.

An extensive New York Times report explored the potential conflict of interest between Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the Clinton Foundation:

But the untold story behind that story is one that involves not just the Russian president, but also a former American president and a woman who would like to be the next one. […]

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

No conflict of interest there, of course.

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Then there is the matter of a Russian government initiative outright giving millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. As the Washington Free Beacon reported in August:

A Moscow-based technology initiative funded in part by the Russian government funneled tens of millions of dollars into the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary of state, according to a new report released Monday.

As President Obama’s top diplomat, Clinton oversaw and facilitated the State Department’s failed five-year project to “reset” U.S.-Russia relations, which spurred the creation of Skolkovo, a research facility known as Russia’s version of Silicon Valley, Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer wrote in a new report, titled “From Russia with Money.

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As the GAI report “From Russia with Money” summarizes:

  • A major technology transfer component of the Russian reset overseen by Hillary Clinton substantially enhanced the Russian military’s technological capabilities, according to both the FBI and the U.S. Army.
  • Russian government officials and American corporations participated in the technology transfer project overseen by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that funnelled tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.
  • A Putin-connected Russian government fund transferred $35 million to a small company with Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta on its executive board, which included senior Russian officials.
  • John Podesta failed to reveal, as required by law on his federal financial disclosures, his membership on the board of this offshore company.
  • Podesta also headed up a think tank which wrote favorably about the Russian reset while apparently receiving millions from Kremlin-linked Russian oligarchs via an offshore LLC.

While the U.S. news media is promoting theories about what Putin’s motivation might be interfering in the election, it might behoove them to acknowledge that questions abound about Hillary Clinton and her campaign as well. While they’re checking for Russians under every bed, they might also want to look under John Podesta’s.