Donald Trump loves to refer to CNN as the Clinton News Network with the claim that CNN goes easy on Hillary and gives her preferential treatment. While at times, the network does let its left-leaning tendencies be on full display, that is not the case when it comes to the numerous controversies surrounding Hillary Clinton and questions regarding Emailgate and now the seemingly improper relationship between the State Department when Hillary was Secretary of State and the Clinton Foundation.
CNN’s Investigation into the involvement of a top Clinton State Department aide with the Clinton Foundation was discussed and exposed on OutFront with Erin Burnett. At the center of this latest scandal is longtime Clinton confidante and aide Cheryl Mills.
When Hillary Clinton was named Secretary of State, Hillary offered reassurance and a promise to keep the State Department and the Clinton Foundation business separate. It seems that was not only not the case but the Clinton Foundation, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the State Department are stonewalling both the Senate Judiciary Committee and CNN as they seek to get to the bottom of Mills’ involvement with the Clinton Foundation while she was Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff at the State Department.
On June 19, 2012, while she was with the State Department, Mills boarded a train to New York. For the last seven months, Senate investigators have sought answers from the State Department regarding what Mills was doing traveling to New York. For those seven months, the State Department has refused to answer.
In a letter to the Department of State, long-time Clinton aide Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and others, the Senate Judiciary Committee asks about a “revised itinerary” sent to Mills for a June 19-20, 2012 trip to New York City where Mills was supposedly meeting at Tenco’s offices on June 20th from 7:30 am to 9:50 am. Perhaps Mills did have that meeting but it turns out that is not all she was doing.
According to CNN, they have discovered why the State Department has worked desperately to avoid providing answers to the Senate investigative committee. Cheryl Mills, while a government employee and Chief of Staff to Clinton, was traveling to New York working on behalf of the Clinton Foundation.
Mills wasn’t simply delivering a speech for the Foundation, she was actually interviewing two individuals as potential candidates to lead the Clinton Foundation. One of the candidates was a top-level executive with Walmart and the other a top-level executive with the drug company Pfizer. Both companies are huge donors to both the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative.
When CNN approached the State Department to inquire whether Mills was in violation of government ethics rules with her involvement with the Clinton Foundation. The also asked whether she had permission from the Department of State and whether the State Department was even aware of the trip. As with the Senate Judiciary Committee’s inquiry, the State Department was not forthcoming with an answer, instead giving a vague general statement that did not address the issue revolving around Mills.
“Federal employees are permitted to engage in outside personal activities, within the scope of the federal ethics rules. All federal employees are subject to federal ethics laws and regulations, including rules pertaining to conflicts of interest.”
CNN states that the vague response raises more questions that are not being answered. Despite questions by CNN, the watchdog group Project for Government Oversight, and the Senate Judiciary Committee, which CNN says has a right to know, the State Department still refuses to give a straightforward answer.
Scott Amey, with the Project for Government Oversight, shared this concern.
“Congress has a rightful right to ask for any information that it wants to from the executive branch of government to keep track of them and the government should be turning that information over. And when you have a breakdown in that system we have a breakdown in our democracy.”
Mills relationship with the Clintons dates back to 1999 when she served as Bill Clinton’s deputy White House Counsel. She was at his side to defend him during impeachment proceedings after he lied under oath about his sexual relationship and affair with young White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. After proving her loyalty, she has been in the Clinton inner circle ever since.
During Hillary’s 2008 presidential run, Mills was her senior legal advisor. When she was named the Secretary of State, Mills left her role as a member of the Board of the Clinton Foundation to become Hillary’s Chief of Staff.
Mills attorney insists that she was simply volunteering her time for a charitable organization and was not paid. The Clinton campaign echoed that weak explanation in a statement by Brian Fallon , Clinton Campaign Spokesman.
“Cheryl volunteered her personal time to a charitable organization as she has to other charities. Cheryl paid for her travel to New York City personally, and it was crystal clear to all involved that this had nothing to do with her official duties. The idea that this poses a conflict of interest is absurd.”
If Mills paid for her own trip, was simply volunteering her time to a ‘charitable organization’ and the trip had nothing to do with her official duties with the State Department, then why would she receive an itinerary from the State Department regarding her trip and a supposed meeting that coincidentally happened on the same day she was doing work on behalf of the Clinton Foundation?
This report comes out one day after it was revealed that the FBI recommended an investigation of the Clinton Foundation based upon what they believed to be criminal activity in an illegal pay for play scheme. Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice refused to investigate even though Lynch previously said she would do whatever the FBI recommended.