Emails high­light Morocco meet­ing

Wik­iLeaks docs re­veal de­bate in Clin­ton camp

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Stephen Braun and Michael Biesecker

WASH­ING­TON — Hacked emails re­veal in­ter­nal dis­agree­ment among top aides to Hil­lary Clin­ton about her de­ter­mi­na­tion to hold a Clin­ton Foun­da­tion sum­mit in Morocco that later drew at­ten­tion over its re­liance on large fi­nan­cial pledges from for­eign gov­ern­ments.

Clin­ton aide Huma Abe­din bluntly wrote in the Jan­uary 2015 email that “if HRC was not part of it, meet­ing was a non-starter” and then warned: “She cre­ated this mess and she knows it.”

It was an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic re­mark from a con­fi­dant known for her loy­alty to Clin­ton over the years.

The hacked email was among more than 4,000 mes­sages posted Thurs­day on the web­site of the Wik­iLeaks or­ga­ni­za­tion. The emails were stolen from the ac­counts of John Podesta, Clin­ton’s cam­paign chair­man.

In Wed­nes­day’s fi­nal pres­i­den­tial de­bate, Don­ald Trump said he doubted the con­clu­sion by U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials that the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment is be­hind a string of re­cent tar­geted cy­ber­at­tacks and sub­se­quent leaks to in­flu­ence the elec­tion. Clin­ton sharply crit­i­cized the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for us­ing the hacked emails to at­tack her, as well as a past state­ment en­cour­ag­ing hack­ers to leak more. Clin­ton aide Huma Abe­din wrote bluntly about Morocco’s ex­pec­ta­tions for a 2015 meet­ing, ac­cord­ing to Wik­iLeaks.

In her email, Abe­din told Podesta and cur­rent Clin­ton cam­paign man­ager Robby Mook that the lav­ish May 2015 meet­ing of the Clin­ton Global Ini­tia­tive was based on a $12 mil­lion pledge from Moroc­can King Mo­hammed VI to host the event.

“The King has per­son­ally com­mit­ted ap­prox. $12 mil­lion both for the en­dow­ment and to sup­port the meet­ing,” Abe­din wrote.

Clin­ton Foun­da­tion records do not show any di­rect pledge of fund­ing from the king or gov­ern­ment of Morocco to the char­ity. Com­mit­ments to the char­ity’s CGI pro­gram are agree­ments only to aid the pro­gram’s in­ter­na­tional pro­jects, not to di­rectly fund the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion it­self.

Clin­ton was no longer serv­ing as sec­re­tary of state at the time of the meet­ing in Mar­rakesh. Spon­sor donations some­times have been used to de­fray the costs of meet­ings for CGI, the foun­da­tion’s pro­gram of world­wide char­ity and de­vel­op­ment pro­jects.

Politico has re­ported that the meet­ing was partly sup­ported by a pledge of at least $1 mil­lion from OCP, a Moroc­can phos­phate ex­port firm whose di­rec­tors in­cluded sev­eral top Moroc­can gov­ern­ment min­is­ters.

Among the other listed at­ten­dees were sev­eral cor­po­rate fig­ures who had met with Clin­ton when she was sec­re­tary of state or were long-time po­lit­i­cal fundrais­ers.

They in­cluded en­ter­tain- ment mag­nate Haim Sa­ban and his psy­chol­o­gist wife, Ch­eryl, who are ma­jor fundrais­ers for Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and met with her sev­eral times dur­ing her State Depart­ment ten­ure.

The in­ter­nal email ex­change in­volv­ing Abe­din, Mook and Podesta re­veals that there was in­ter­nal dis­agree­ment ahead of time over Clin­ton’s push for the Moroc­can meet­ing.

The Clin­ton cam­paign was not im­me­di­ately avail­able to com­ment on the newly re­leased Wik­iLeaks email.

In her mes­sage, Abe­din said that Clin­ton’s per­sonal ap­pear­ance at the planned meet­ing was a key el­e­ment in the Moroc­can de­ci­sion to host the event.

But days af­ter OCP’s role in the Mar­rakesh meet­ing was pub­li­cized, Clin­ton de­cided not to at­tend. Her de­ci­sion came de­spite a Novem­ber 2014 email in which Abe­din in­sisted “no mat­ter what hap­pens, she will be in Morocco host­ing CGI on May 5-7, 2015. Her pres­ence was a con­di­tion for the Moroc­cans to pro­ceed so there is no go­ing back on this.”

A week af­ter the do­na­tion from OCP was re­vealed in April, the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion an­nounced it was tight­en­ing its pol­icy on donations from for­eign gov­ern­ments, agree­ing to al­low fi­nan­cial gifts only from six na­tions that had pre­vi­ously sup­ported the foun­da­tion’s health, poverty and cli­mate change pro­grams.

DREW AN­GERER/GETTY

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