Katie Pavlich is the editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.
In light of Donald Trump Jr.’s changing story about meeting with a Russian "crown prosecutor” promising to give him damaging information about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, many Democrat strategists and their liberal counterparts on Capitol Hill are once again overreacting. In the past week alone we’ve heard calls for treason charges, and one Democrat in the House has introduced an article of impeachment.
Because of the hysterical reaction, lets take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Were Trump campaign officials the only ones engaging in questionable behavior regarding Russia? Hardly. The Clintons are in the same category.First, lets start with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server in hostile countries around the world. After all, she repeatedly bragged about the miles she traveled on the campaign trail.
While FBI investigators say there is no evidence hackers infiltrated the server, they also admit good hackers could have gotten in, taken important information and left without a trail. Further, because Clinton failed to turn over all 13 devices she used to access her private server (after claiming she only used one), the FBI could not conduct a full examination of possible intrusions.
According to an FBI report produced last year, the server was attacked by bad actors multiple times. Foreign spy agencies and enemies of the United States, including Russia, quickly became aware Clinton was using an open, unprotected system and did their best to access it. At one point, the server was attacked 10 times in just two days. When Clinton received emails from aides with details about attacks, she brushed them off and didn’t call for an increase in security on the network. Hackers were notably successful in obtaining emails containing sensitive foreign policy discussions between Clinton and her political allies such as Sidney Blumenthal.
When Clinton traveled to Russia, known for its hackers and cyber warfare against the United States and other democracies, she didn’t bother to tap into the government-protected email system provided by the State Department. Instead, she continued to communicate through her personal, home-brewed and unsecured server. Essentially, she left classified U.S. secrets wide open for access.
And then there was the alleged quid-pro-quo, something the Clintons know a lot about. During her time at the State Department in 2010, new sanctions on Russia were initially blocked despite calls from Congress they be implemented. The sanctions, eventually put into place in 2012, targeted a number of Russian officials and individuals close to the government for human rights violations. One of the banks under scrutiny was Renaissance Capital, which paid former President Bill Clinton$500,000 to give a speech in Moscow shortly after the State Department, with Hillary in charge, blocked sanctions against the financial institution.
"Shortly before Bill Clinton’s speech in 2010, when members of Congress pushing the sanctions bill had asked Hillary Clinton to refuse visas to Russian officials implicated under the policy, the State Department denied the request,” Fox News reports. "Former President Bill Clinton’s speech to Renaissance just weeks later was all the more curious, considering Renaissance’s Russian investment bank executives would have been banned from the U.S. under the law.”
Apparently Bill had an impact and delivered a notable speech. After all, Russian President Vladimir Putin personally called him to express his gratitude.
But the connection to Russia and Bill’s $500,000 speech doesn’t stop there. In fact, the big speech payout also came when the State Department, again with Hillary at the helm, was negotiating a Russian uranium deal with a company better known as Uranium One. Uranium One founders also happened to be Clinton Foundation donors.
"Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States,” The New York Times reported in 2015. "Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
Finally, government watchdog Judicial Watch recently published a number of new emails belonging to Hillary Clinton that were not previously turned over to the State Department as required by law. This batch not only contains more classified information Clinton stored on her private server, but also reveals Clinton was doing favors for a Russia connection group through the Clinton Foundation while serving as Secretary of State.
"The new emails also reveal a number of favors that were requested and carried out,” Judicial Watch found. "In May 2010, [Huma] Abedin tells [Doug] Band that she has ‘hooked up’ people from the Russian American Foundation with ‘the right people’ at the State Department after Abedin received a request from Russian American Foundation Vice President Rina Kirshner, forwarded by Clinton Foundation donor Eddie Trump (no relation to President Trump).”
To be sure, none of this excuses the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia during the 2016 presidential election or the changing story about what actually happened, but the actions taken by the Clintons certainly warrant further media scrutiny. At minimum they warrant equal hysteria, especially when Democrats are putting treason and impeachment on the table.