FLASHBACK: Sid Blumenthal Lobbied Hillary Clinton On Behalf Of Pro-Putin Georgian Politician
In September 2012, Hillary Clinton’s longtime friend and informal adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, sent an email to the then-secretary of state’s secret email account touting a Georgian politician allied with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin.
In the email, Blumenthal wrote on behalf of John Kornblum, a former ambassador to Germany who was working as a consultant for Bidzina Ivanishvili, a Georgian billionaire who was head of the Georgian Dream political party.
Ivanishvili, a Putin ally, was running for president against Mikheil Saakashvili, an ally of the U.S.
The email has already been reported — first by Gawker and with limited pickup on other news websites — but it’s worth revisiting amid allegations that President Trump’s advisers have kept secret their meetings with Russian government officials and others linked to the Kremlin.
Democrats assailed Attorney General Jeff Sessions for failing to disclose meetings he had with Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, while he was serving as an adviser to the Trump campaign last year. Sessions was asked in his Senate confirmation hearing whether he met any members of the Russian government during the campaign.
He said he had not. But it was reported after the hearing that Sessions met Kislyak twice last year, once in his Senate office and once on the sidelines of a well-attended political conference.
Sessions said that he did not mention the meetings during his confirmation hearing because he met with Kislyak in his capacity as a senator, not a member of the Trump team.
The Sessions meeting fits into the liberal-fueled narrative that Trump and his advisers have secret relationships with the Kremlin. So far, despite rampant innuendo, no evidence has been produced showing that Trump has broken any laws or had improper connections to the Russian government.
Clinton’s email from Blumenthal involved secrecy as well.
The former first lady did not turn over the document and more than 55,000 other work-related emails until nearly two years after she left the State Department. She only did so after the agency formally requested that she return the emails, which were federal records and contained voluminous amounts of classified intel.
In his email to Clinton, Blumenthal passed along a memo from Kornblum and warned Clinton that the Georgian election “could be a potential hot spot a month before the US election.”
“Kornblum suggests that a politically beleaguered Saakashvili might ratchet up tensions with Russia before the election, drawing Republican attention and creating a cudgel to beat the Obama administration as soft on Russia,” Blumenthal wrote.
Kornblum’s note included a letter from Ivanishvili, with both documents requesting U.S. support for Georgian Dream against what they said was an anti-democratic Saakashvili.
Ivanishvili went on to defeat the U.S. ally in the election, held on Oct. 1, 2012.
It is not clear whether Clinton did anything to help Blumenthal, Kornblum or Ivanishvili.
It’s also not clear whether Kornblum paid Blumenthal to act as a liaison to Clinton. Neither Kornblum nor Blumenthal registered with the Justice Department as foreign agents, though they likely should have. The Justice Department told The Daily Caller in response to a Freedom of Information Act request last year that it had no records related to the matter.
Blumenthal appears to have engaged in such activity when on Sept. 3, 2012, he sent a memo to Hillary Clinton on behalf of John Kornblum, an international lobbyist who served as ambassador to Germany during Bill Clinton’s presidency.
As was disclosed in the memo, Kornblum was working for Bidzina Ivanishvili, a Georgian billionaire who was head of the Georgian Dream political party. An ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin, Ivanishvili was challenging Mikheil Saakashvili, a U.S. ally. Blumenthal told Clinton that the Georgian election “could be a potential hot spot a month before the US election.”
“Kornblum suggests that a politically beleaguered Saakashvili might ratchet up tensions with Russia before the election, drawing Republican attention and creating a cudgel to beat the Obama administration as soft on Russia,” wrote Blumenthal, a former journalist who worked in the Bill Clinton White House. Blumenthal’s email to Clinton included a memo from Kornblum and a letter from Ivanishvili, both requesting U.S. support for Georgian Dream, which won the Oct. 1, 2012 contest, displacing Saakashvili.
Blumenthal sent dozens of other secret memos to Clinton while she was in office. In some, he sought help on behalf of a defense contractor that sought business in Libya. Blumenthal pushed Clinton to depose Libya’s dictator, Moammar Gaddafi. The company Blumenthal was helping, Osprey Global Systems, hoped to gain business from a post-Gaddafi government. Blumenthal stood to earn a commission on any work that Osprey obtained.
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