Newly released email conversations from Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state show a Clinton Foundation staffer reaching out to Huma Abedin, one of Clinton's senior aides, to schedule a meeting between Clinton and a foundation donor.
In June 2009, Doug Band, a longtime aide to former President Bill Clinton and a Clinton Foundation official, contacted Abedin to set up a meeting between Clinton and Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa, a donor who, via the foundation, started a leadership scholarship in Bahrain.
The new emails were released Monday as part of a lawsuit brought on by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.
"Cp of Bahrain in tomorrow to Friday. Asking to see her. Good friend of ours," Band wrote in a message to Abedin, who was serving as Clinton's deputy chief of staff at the time and is now a senior advisor on Clinton's presidential campaign.
Abedin responded to Band's email, saying Khalifa had sought a meeting with Clinton "thru normal channels" the previous week and said the former secretary of state had said she "doesn’t want to commit to anything for Thurs or Fri until she knows how she will feel."
Two days later, Abedin followed up with the foundation staffer, writing, "We have reached out thru official channels."
Ultimately, a meeting with the crown prince was arranged. "Offering bahrain cp 10 tomorrow for mtg with hrc. If you see him, let him know. We have reached out thru official channels," Abedin wrote to Band.
While it is routine for the secretary of state to meet with foreign dignitaries, it is not common for the meetings to be arranged by forces outside the State Department. The newly released messages bolster the accusation that Clinton Foundation staffers enjoyed special access to Clinton during her time in President Barack Obama's administration.
But the Clinton campaign is pushing back. Josh Schwerin, a spokesman for the Democrat's campaign, told the Wall Street Journal Monday that the emails are another "utterly false" attack from "a right-wing organization that has been going after the Clintons since the 1990s."
"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," he said.
And in a statement to BuzzFeed News, the crown prince claimed he pledged to contribute to the scholarship program long before his meeting with Clinton.
"The crown prince’s pledge in 2005 to continue to invest in educating young Bahraini men and women happened years before and was wholly unrelated to any meeting with Secretary Clinton," the statement read, adding that the U.S.'s relationship with Bahrain is an "enduring feature of the Kingdom’s foreign policy and, as deputy head of state, the crown prince has and will continue to meet with US officials."
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