August 28, 2015

REPORT: Bill Clinton Tried To Give Speeches In North Korea And The Congo

ABC News reported today on more documents obtained by Citizens United, which show that Bill Clinton tried to give speeches in North Korea and the Democratic Republic Of The Congo:

ABC News has obtained State Department e-mails that shed light on Bill Clinton’s lucrative speaking engagements and show he and the Clinton Foundation tried to get approval for invitations related to two of the most repressive countries in the world — North Korea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Clinton’s speech in the Congo would bring in $650,000, as long as he took pictures with some dictators:

The catch? The dictators of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo would both be attending — and required photos with Bill Clinton. The speaking fee? A whopping $650,000.

Despite being informed of the “prevalence and intensity of sexual violence against women” in the country, Bill Clinton seemed to think having the money sent to his foundation would make everything okay:

The speaking agency’s vetting of the Democratic Republic of the Congo noted the “prevalence and intensity of sexual violence against women in eastern Congo is widely described as the worst in the world.”

Desai forwarded the e-mail to Mills and other State Department employees, including long-time Clinton aide Huma Abedin, asking for state’s opinion on whether Bill Clinton could do the speech but give the money to the Clinton Foundation.

“WJC wants know what state thinks of it if he took it 100% for the foundation,” Desai wrote using Clinton’s initials. “We’d welcome your thoughts.”

Bill Clinton also requested to give a speech in North Korea, the invitation for which came from Hillary Clinton’s brother Tony Rodham:

A second email thread in May 2012 shows another potentially thorny event — subject line: “North Korea invitation.”

“Is it safe to assume [the U.S. Government] would have concerns about WJC accepting the attached invitation related to North Korea?” Desai wrote in an e-mail to Mills and two other State Department officials –Jake Sullivan, then-director of Policy Planning Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff, and Michael Fuchs, then a special assistant to the Secretary of State who now serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Strategy and Multilateral Affairs in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Mills two-word response? “Decline it.”

But the Clinton Foundation followed up three weeks later, saying the invite came via Hillary Clinton’s brother Tony Rodham.

“We would be grateful for any specific concerns that we could share,” Desai wrote. “Tony is seeing WJC in a couple hours.”

Mills wrote back to tell Bill Clinton, “If he needs more let him know his wife knows and I am happy to call him secure when he is near a secure line.”

While in the end neither of these speeches occurred, as ABC notes, they “show just how far Bill Clinton was willing to go to earn those lucrative fees.” The story also raises another question as to why the brother of the sitting Secretary of State was passing along invites from North Korea.