The Cable

Bahraini Prince Sought Access to Clinton Through Foundation After Trying ‘Normal Channels’

Newly-released emails from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state raise fresh questions about whether the Clinton Foundation helped its donors gain access and special treatment from the State Department during her time in office.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09:  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Crown Prince of Bahrain Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, speak to the media before a meeting at the State Department, on May 9, 2012 in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton and the Crown Prince participated in a bilateral meeting on bi-lateral reginal issues.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Crown Prince of Bahrain Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, speak to the media before a meeting at the State Department, on May 9, 2012 in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton and the Crown Prince participated in a bilateral meeting on bi-lateral reginal issues. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Newly-released emails from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state raise fresh questions about whether the Clinton Foundation helped its donors gain access and special treatment from the State Department during her time in office.

The documents, released by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, appear to show Bahraini Crown Prince Salman attempting to arrange a meeting with Clinton in June 2009 by using his connections to the foundation after failing to get immediate access to her through what one of her aides refers to as “normal channels.”

The emails show Clinton aide Huma Abedin and Doug Band, a senior executive at the Clinton Foundation, discussing a request by Bahraini Crown Prince Salman to meet with Clinton in June 2009.

“[He’s] asking to see her,” said Band. “Good friend of ours.”

But Abedin, a longtime Clinton confidante who was serving as Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, notes that he already placed a request through “normal channels.”

“I asked and she said she doesn’t want to commit to anything for thurs or fri until she knows how she will feel,” Abedin wrote, referring to Clinton.

According to the Clinton Foundation website, Bahrain has given up to $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

In a follow up email two days later, Abedin wrote that she’d suggested a 10 a.m. meeting with the crown prince and “HRC.” The two eventually met in June and a photographer captured images.

The Clinton campaign denied that Clinton ever did any favors for the charity’s donors during her tenure in a statement on Monday. “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,” said Josh Schwerin, a campaign spokesman.

Judicial Watch obtained the emails after receiving them through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The group released a previous batch of emails earlier this month that showed an executive at the charity trying to put a billionaire in contact with the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon because of the donor’s interest in the region. Another email appeared to show the foundation trying to get a job for an individual in the U.S. government and Clinton’s staffers said they would look into it.

The latest release comes as the State Department said Monday it is reviewing almost 15,000 previously undisclosed emails that the FBI recovered as part of its investigation into Clinton’s email practices. Those emails had not originally been disclosed by Clinton’s attorneys. A federal judge is pushing the State Department to start releasing those documents before Foggy Bottom’s planned mid-October drop date.

Clinton’s Republican rival, Donald Trump, has repeatedly criticized her for the potential conflict of interest.

“The Clintons have spent decades as insiders lining their own pockets and taking care of donors instead of the American people,” Trump said last week. “It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history.”

The Clinton campaign has said it will ban foreign and corporate donations to the charity if Clinton wins the presidency.

John Hudson is a senior reporter at Foreign Policy, where he covers diplomacy and national security issues in Washington. He has reported from several geopolitical hotspots, including Ukraine, Pakistan, Malaysia, China, and Georgia. Prior to joining FP, John covered politics and global affairs for the Atlantic magazine’s news blog, the Atlantic Wire. In 2008, he covered the August war between Russia and Georgia from Tbilisi and the breakaway region of Abkhazia. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, C-SPAN, Fox News radio, Al Jazeera, and other broadcast outlets. He has been with the magazine since 2013. @john_hudson

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