Just two months into her term as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton’s foundation invited Russian leader Vladimir Putin, along with several other prominent heads of state, to the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2009 annual gathering, emails obtained by the watchdog group Judicial Watch reveal.
The March 13, 2009, email from the Clinton Foundation showed that Putin and about 200 other leaders (including others just as controversial) were invited to attend a gathering that occurred at about the same time that the newly appointed secretary of state was attempting a “reset” with Moscow.
The email, which was sent from Clinton Foundation director of foreign policy Amitabh Desai to Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro and then forwarded to top Clinton aide Jake Sullivan, also highlights the potential massive conflict of interest between a non-profit foundation and the federal government.
This may come as a shock to casual observers of global politics, as Clinton represented herself as a fierce anti-Putin hawk on the 2016 election campaign trail. Clinton routinely reprimanded now-President Donald Trump for not condemning Putin. She called Trump’s stance on Russia “unseemly” and “beyond one’s imagination.”
Even after losing the election, Clinton has continued on the warpath against President Trump’s stance on Russia.
“He doesn’t just like Putin, he wants to be like Putin,” Clinton said of Trump on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show Thursday night.
But as secretary of state, Clinton took pains to engage with the Kremlin. Just one week prior to sending out the invites, Hillary flew to Geneva and presented the Russian foreign minister with an actual “reset button” to symbolize a new beginning in U.S.-Russia relations.
She’s also been accused of profiting off of the relationship with Russia. One year after inviting Putin to the Clinton Foundation event, she approved the sale of 20 percent of America’s uranium capacity to Russia. Shortly thereafter, donors connected to the company that was sold to Russia contributed $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Beyond the Putin invite, many serious conflicts of interests arose from the sitting secretary of state’s invite list.
Judicial Watch explains further:
The list includes dignitaries from Saudi Arabia, which gave $14.5 million to the Clinton Foundation; Kuwait, which gave between $5 and $10 million; Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar — all of which donated between $1 and $5 million over the years. In February 2015, the Washington Post reported, “A third of foundation donors who have given more than $1 million are foreign governments or other entities … and foreign donors make up more than half of those who have given more than $5 million.”