When Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, Huma Abedin was her Deputy Chief of Staff. During this time, Abedin fielded a number of odd requests, many of which were from Clinton Foundation donors who wanted favors. A new batch of emails released Monday show Abedin dealing with everything from the crown prince of Bahrain asking for a meeting with Clinton to Bono wanting access to the international space station. If you want to read Abedin's emails for yourself, conservative site Judicial Watch released 725 pages' worth of new emails from Clinton's time as Secretary of State and they are available to the public.
These emails, which, according to Judicial Watch, include 20 email exchanges from Clinton that were not previously turned over to the State Department, were released on the same day that Judge James Boasberg asked the State Department to expedite its review of the emails exchanged on Clinton's private email server. The Abedin emails suggest that the longtime Clinton aide communicated with Clinton Foundation donors, potentially adding to the ongoing controversy about the foundation's potential to create conflicts of interest.
An email exchange between Abedin and top Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band regarding Bahraini Crown Prince Salman has received a lot of attention. On June 23, 2009, Band sent the following email to Abedin: "Cp of Bahrain in tomorrow to Friday[.] Asking to see her[.] Good friend of ours." Abedin responded later that same day, saying, "He asked to see hrc thurs and fri thru normal channels. I asked and she said she doesn't want to commit to anything for thurs or fri until she knows how she will feel. Also she says that she may want to go to ny and doesn't want to be committed to stuff in ny..." Abedin clarified that she meant "stuff in dc," and on June 25 sent another email which read, "Offering Bahrain cp 10 tomorrow for meeting [with] hrc[.] If u see him, let him know[.] We have reached out thru official channels."
Many critics — among whom Donald Trump is perhaps the most vocal — have accused Clinton of taking actions in her capacity as Secretary of State that were allegedly influenced by Clinton Foundation donors. They see Prince Salman's case as evidence of this, since he established a scholarship program for the Clinton Global Initiative that in five years had contributed $32 million to CGI. But in a statement to POLITICO, Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin countered these criticisms. "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," Schwerin said.
Clinton hasn't completely ignored these criticisms, however, as they could become a liability. Bill and Chelsea Clinton recently announced that the Clinton Foundation would scale back its efforts — including the Clinton Global Initiative — if Clinton were to be elected in November. And Abedin? She might have dealt with a lot of bizarre requests over the years, but she might become a key player in a potential Clinton presidency. Again, check out the emails for yourself, and see what you make of them.