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Choose your taint

You can’t spin Hillary Clinton into the more respectable candidate


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If you, like me, are a frog sitting in the steaming waters of America, summer 2016, you’d be wise to buy a thermometer, or three, to better gauge the gathering boil. Democrats buoyed by eight years of Obama liberalism are unified behind a candidate awash in corruption, herself moved left by socialist rival Bernie Sanders.

The New York Times in a July 10 front-page story about the need for a unifying president professed, “Of the two, Mrs. Clinton would seem more able, and driven, to try to bring the country together.” Given the demagoguery and sheer boorishness of Donald Trump’s campaign, it’s tempting to believe Hillary Clinton represents the traditional, sober political leader.

That would be the case if you’re living in Caracas or Buenos Aires. The charge sheet of scandal and foreign entanglements, together with the accumulation of wealth through the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, reads more like the resumé of some tin-pot dictator. We should get over Hillary Clinton as the less tainted choice. Critics rightly demand Trump act more presidential, but they should also demand Clinton act less criminal.

There’s a reason scandal won’t leave her alone. Any working American realizes he or she would be fired, or jailed, for doing things Clinton has done. An ABC/Washington Post poll found a majority (56 percent) disapprove of the FBI’s recommendation not to charge Clinton for her handling of email while secretary of state. The same poll showed a majority (57 percent) “worried” about what she’d do if elected president.

Critics rightly demand Trump act more presidential, but they should also demand Clinton act less criminal.

Investigations will continue, and not all are politically motivated. Charles Ortel is a well-known auditor with a Harvard MBA who told me he’s not a Republican. He has concluded the Clinton Foundation is the “largest unprosecuted charity fraud ever attempted,” part of an “international charity fraud network” with inflows and outflows exceeding $100 billion. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., formally asked the FBI on July 13 for a public corruption investigation of the Clinton Foundation, where Hillary currently is secretary/treasurer.

More questions keep surfacing. About Clinton’s role in a 2009 military coup in Honduras. About reports she massaged 2010 election results in Haiti. About a $29 billion jet fighter deal she approved for Saudi Arabia despite Israel’s objections—including Boeing F-15s—two months after Boeing gave $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation. About the $21 million she earned in 2013-2015 in speaking fees, and whom she may be obligated to for future favors.

WORLD began to investigate Clinton’s State Department over Nigeria (see “Troubling ties,” June 11) after we learned—through the testimony of two knowledgeable witnesses—an American working for the UN named Vernice Guthrie narrowly escaped a 2011 bombing at UN headquarters there. The terrorist attack was an international incident, so why weren’t the names of American victims released?

In 2013 we filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the FBI and State Department in part to ask for such records. In 2014 the FBI declined to comply, citing an ongoing investigation. In 2016 the State Department sent two envelopes containing 20 documents, all revolving on State Department talking points after the bombing, none touching on U.S. personnel.

Through months of our sifting documents, interviewing former officials and security and financial experts, this detail remained elusive. Contacted by my colleague J.C. Derrick, Guthrie acknowledged she worked in Nigeria, but she hung up the phone when asked about the bombing. Guthrie’s social media accounts, we discovered, seemed scrubbed. An active Twitter account she’s had since 2009 and a Facebook page went dark between 2011 and 2013. Subsequent calls went unreturned. Her behavior suggested she may have been under pressure to hide her presence, but why?

Our reporting uncovered multiple ties between the Clinton Foundation, Hillary herself, and Nigerian business interests who benefited from the United States not cracking down on terror in Nigeria. It’s a small anecdote. But it fits a pattern of cover-up; of Clinton denying shady practices plain for all to see; of her dealing with rogues, defying the law in plain sight, and daring anyone to catch her. A nuclear arsenal and the world’s best army won’t be in trustworthy hands on her watch.

Email [email protected]


Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine’s first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run From ISIS With Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C.

@mcbelz

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