Newly released emails from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state have revealed that Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Mr. Gilbert Chagoury used his relationship with the Clinton Foundation set up by her husband former President Bill Clinton to seek for favours from the US State Department.
Chagoury is a close friend of the former US president and a top donor to the Clinton Foundation. He has appeared near the top of the Foundation’s donor list as a $1 million to $5 million contributor, according to foundation documents. He also pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative.
The revelation has raised questions about the nature of the State Department’s relationship with the Clinton Foundation, when she was secretary of state.
CNN reported yesterday that Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, released 296 pages of emails from the Democratic presidential nominee, including 44 that Judicial Watch says were not previously handed over to the State Department by Clinton.
The emails, many of which are heavily redacted, raise questions about the Clinton Foundation’s influence on the State Department and its relations during her tenure.
In one instance, top Clinton Foundation official Doug Band lobbied Clinton aides for a job for someone else in the State Department. In the email, Band tells Hillary Clinton’s former aides at the department — Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin — that it is “important to take care of (redacted).” Band is reassured by Abedin that “Personnel has been sending him options.”
The emails were obtained by the group through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the State Department in 2015.
The Trump campaign seized at the new batch of emails, citing them as evidence of Clinton being corrupt.
The prolonged investigations into her use of a private email server while at the State Department has fuelled public distrust of her and plagued her presidential bid.
But the Justice Department declined to press charges against Clinton for her handling of classified information related to the server earlier this year, with FBI Director James Comey saying while she was “extremely careless,” it was his judgment that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
In a 2009 email, Band directs Abedin and Mills to put Chagoury, a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire and Clinton Foundation donor, in contact with the State Department’s “substance person” on Lebanon.
“We need Gilbert Chagoury to speak to the substance person re Lebanon,” Band wrote. “As you know, he’s a key guy there and to us and is loved in Lebanon. Very imp.”
“It’s jeff feltman,” Abedin responded, referring to Jeffrey Feltman, who was the US ambassador to Lebanon at the time. “I’m sure he knows him. I’ll talk to jeff.”
Feltman told CNN yesterday that he never met with Chagoury.
“I have never met nor spoken with Mr Chagoury. I was not aware of the proposal that he speak to me until this email exchange was released, but in any case we never spoke,” he said.
Judicial Watch President Tom Filton said in a press release that Clinton “hid” the 44 emails on purpose.
“No wonder Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin hid emails from the American people, the courts and Congress,” he said in a press release. “They show the Clinton Foundation, Clinton donors, and operatives worked with Hillary Clinton in potential violation of the law.”
Clinton’s campaign said the emails didn’t relate to her work at the Clinton Foundation.
“Neither of these emails involve the secretary or relate to the Foundation’s work,” said an emailed statement from Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin. “They are communications between her aides and the President’s personal aide, and indeed the recommendation was for one of the Secretary’s former staffers who was not employed by the Foundation.”
The Clinton campaign said yesterday that Chagoury only wanted to offer insights on the then-upcoming Lebanese election and was not looking for any specific action from the State Department.
“The right-wing organization behind this lawsuit has been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s and 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 in a statement.
GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump sought to use the emails to paint Clinton as corrupt.
The Clinton Foundation was not part of the recent investigation into her private server; it was separate. The FBI went to Justice Department earlier this year asking for it to open a case into the foundation, but the public integrity unit declined.
The Justice Department had looked into whether it should open a case on the foundation a year prior and found it didn’t have sufficient evidence to do so.
Yesterday, Judicial Watch released written testimony from Mills, in which she provides further detail on how Clinton’s private email server was set up to address potentially security concerns.
Mills told the attorneys she spoke with a Clinton IT staffer in 2013, after learning the email account of a close Clinton confidante, Sidney Blumenthal, had been compromised by a hacker.
“As I recall, these discussions involved whether this event might affect Secretary Clinton’s email,” Mills said in follow-up answers to an earlier deposition given to Judicial Watch.
Mills also said she recalls speaking to the same staffer — Bryan Pagliano — about the company overseeing the server set up.
“As I recall, these discussions involved whether Platte River Networks would have the technical capacity and be the appropriate source from which to gather Secretary Clinton’s email from the clintonemail.com system,” Mills said.
FG Puts School Resumption Plan on Hold as COVID-19 Cases Hit 30,000
FG Drops School Resumption Plan as COVID-19 Cases Cross 30,000
The Federal Government has dropped plans for certain students to return to school following the surge in COVID-19 cases.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Wednesday reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 30,249 on Wednesday.
“Till date, 30249 cases have been confirmed, 12373 cases have been discharged and 684 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” the NCDC stated.
The report forced the Federal Government to drop plans for certain students to return to school.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, told reporters in Abuja on Wednesday.
“We will not open soon for examinations, or for any reason, unless it is safe for our children,” Adamu after a cabinet meeting.
“Our schools will only open when we believe it’s safe for our children and that is when the situation is right, not when the incidence of the infection is going up in the nation.”
Complete Confirmed COVID-19 Cases by State
|States Affected||No. of Cases (Lab Confirmed)||No. of Cases (on admission)||No. Discharged||No. of Deaths|
FG Approves N109bn Contracts for Four Roads, Hostel
FG to Spend N109bn On Four Roads, Hostel
The Federal Government on Wednesday approved different contracts on roads and others totalling N109.187bn.
The approvals for the contracts were parts of the decision reached at a virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The contracts were approved based on the requests of the Ministry of Works and Housing as well as the Ministry of Education.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that his ministry submitted two memoranda for projects estimated to cost a total of N108.44bn.
He disclosed that the council approved an augmentation of existing contract by N25bn for the completion of the Enugu – Lokponta section of the Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway.
He said, “The Ministry of Works and Housing presented two memoranda. The first one was to aid the completion of the Enugu – Lokponta section of the Enugu – Port Harcourt highway. It was an augmentation of existing contract by N25bn; the council approved that augmentation.
“The second memorandum was the award of three different roads. The first is Dikwa-Marte-Mungunu road for N60. 273bn and the Numan Road linking Borno and Adamawa for N15.527bn and the third is for Gombi-Biu linking Adamawa and Borno also for N7.643 bn.”
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said the FEC approved an agreement between the Kaduna Polytechnic and an investor to renovate 18 blocks of student hostels.
The contract, which is a 15-year concession at the cost of N744.26m is under a Renovate Operate, Maintain and Transfer arrangement.
He said, “It will take one year to construct the hostels, after which the contractor will run it for 15 years within which they will recover what they have sunk into the project.
“There are 18 blocks of hostels and each room in a block will house four students. The total number of students to be housed will be 4,032.”
COVID-19: EU Restricts Nigerians From Entering Europe After Infecting them
European Union Excludes Nigerian from 54 Nations that Can Enter the Region
The European Union (EU) has excluded Nigeria from the list of 54 nations that will be allowed to enter the region when it eventually opens its external borders in July.
In a statement published on schengenvisainfo.com, the union listed the 54 countries as Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Bahamas, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guyana and India.
Others are Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mauritius, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Serbia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zambia.
While China, the outbreak nation, South Korea and Japan, two of the most affected nations in the world, will be allowed to enter the Euro-area when external borders reopen in July, Nigeria with fewer cases of COVID-19 has been excluded from the list despite an Italian businessman been the index case.
The Italian businessman had traveled to Nigeria in February 2020 and tested positive to COVID-19 on February 27 after interacting with Nigerians that came in contact with him.
The Nigerian government had allowed citizens of Euro-area to travel into the country despite the rising number of new cases in the region, especially in Italy, France and Germany. However, the revise is the case now, even with Nigeria addressing the situation started by the European Union.
Eric Mamer, the spokesman for the commission, said “The European Union has an internal process to determine from which countries it would be safe to accept travellers.”
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