Newly released emails show that a Clinton Foundation adviser asked one of Hillary Clinton’s top State Department aides to provide “‘air’ support” for a Clinton Foundation donor who sought to set up a meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Panama to help with a legal dispute.
Emails released on Thursday by Judicial Watch show that Clinton Foundation adviser Doug Band forwarded an email to Hillary Clinton deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin from Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, a conservative online publication.
Despite his ideological bent, Ruddy has been a supporter of the Clintons. Through Newsmax, he has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, the organization’s website shows.
In the Aug. 17, 2009 email, Ruddy asked Band to put Otto Reich, a former Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administration official, in touch with Barbara Stephenson, who then served as U.S. ambassador to Panama.
Ruddy appears to have wanted Reich to get in touch with Stephenson to discuss a legal battle brewing in Panama over the estate of Wilson Lucom, a multimillionaire who had died in 2006.
Lucom was the founder of the conservative watchdog group, Accuracy in Media, and a friend of Ruddy’s. Ruddy was a co-executor of Lucom’s estate before being replaced by Lucom’s attorney after his death.
To help settle the affair, Ruddy leaned on his Clinton Foundation connections to ask the State Department to intervene.
“Otto Reich is arriving in Panama tonight on the matter I discussed,” Ruddy wrote to Band.
He said that Reich had reached out to Stephenson earlier that week but had not heard back from her.
“Any ‘air’ support you can give for this meeting would be helpful,” Ruddy wrote.
Abedin moved to help Band fulfill Ruddy’s request, noting that the staffers who would normally handle such matters were out on vacation but that she would have a “junior”-level official help out.
“I can ask someone junior to deal with this?” she asked in the email, which was sent from her personal account.
“Sure,” replied Band, who has worked for the Clintons in multiple overlapping roles. He once worked as Bill Clinton’s “body man.” He now runs Teneo Strategies, a consulting firm which has paid Clinton millions as an honorary chairman.
It is unclear why Reich was involved in the matter. But he does have experience in Central American affairs. He served as ambassador to Venezuela in the first Bush’s administration and operates a firm called Otto Reich & Associates, an international lobbying and consultancy firm.
Reich was recently listed as an adviser to The Langley Intelligence Group Network (LIGNET), a Washington, D.C.-based intelligence and forecasting service operated by Ruddy.
One document from 2014 lists Reich as a member of LIGNET’s advisory board. Reich appears to have started commenting for interviews conducted through LIGNET in 2011. Ruddy’s and Reich’s relationship prior to that is unclear.
Band followed up on his request to Abedin in a Sept. 3 email.
“Need to follow up on that chris ruddy panama request and just have him connect with someone,” he wrote.
“Let me check in,” Abedin replied.
The next day, Roberta Jacobson, the deputy assistant secretary for the bureau of western hemisphere affairs, responded to Ruddy.
“Your inquiry about the Lucom case has been passed to the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs here at State. I apologize for not getting you a response on our position last evening, but we will get back to you as soon as possible today,” wrote Jacobson.
Ruddy forwarded that response to Band who in turn sent it to Abedin.
The new Judicial Watch release comes on the heels of a string of explosive emails that the watchdog group released last month showing possible pay-to-play involving Abedin and Band.
One email shows Band asking Abedin to help him put Nigerian-Lebanese billionaire Gilbert Chagoury in touch with someone working on Lebanese issues at the State Department. Chagoury has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. He also partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative on a $1 billion project in 2009. (RELATED: Clinton Foundation Official Asked Huma Abedin For Favors For Donors, Associates)
Chagoury is a controversial figure. His business success is in large part due to his relationship in the mid-1990s with Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha. Chagoury attended a White House holiday party in December 1996 after he donated $460,000 to a liberal voter registration group.
He was convicted by a Swiss court in 2000 for laundering money on behalf of Abacha.
He was also denied a visa to visit the U.S. last year because he has helped finance a Lebanese organization allied with Hezbollah, the terrorist group.
Other emails released last month show that Band asked Abedin in a June 23, 2009 email to help set up a meeting for Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the crown prince of Bahrain. (RELATED: Bahrain’s Prince Got Audience With Clinton After Donating $32 Million To Her Foundation)
The meeting eventually took place.
More bombshells are likely to surface in Abedin’s emails. The State Department has only started releasing the emails she sent from her personal email accounts. Abedin worked for Clinton at State from Jan. 2009 through Feb. 2013, when Clinton stepped down. (RELATED: Many More Huma Abedin Email Bombshells Likely To Come)