Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opposed a Russian human rights sanctions bill weeks before her husband gave a $500,000 speech to a Moscow-based financial firm, according to campaign emails published by Wikileaks.
Clinton was joined in her opposition to the sanctions bill, known as the Magnitsky Act, by Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who offered Donald Trump Jr. information related to Russian support for Clinton’s campaign. The Magnitsky Act was passed in 2012 and imposes sanctions on Russian human rights abusers.
The Trump administration has attempted to divert attention away from Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with Veselnitskaya by citing the proximity of Clinton’s opposition to the Magnitsky Act to her husband’s profitable Moscow speech.
“If you want to talk about having relationships with Russia, I’d look no further than the Clintons,” Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a mid-July press briefing. “Bill Clinton was paid half a million dollars to give a speech to a Russian bank, personally thanked by President Putin.”
In 2010, in the middle of a congressional effort to pass the Magnitsky Act, then-Secretary of State Clinton denied requests from lawmakers to refuse visas to the Russian human rights violators implicated in the bill. The Obama administration was opposed to the bill because they believed it would negatively effect the “reset” in relations then-President Barack Obama was seeking with Russia.
Notably, the very same Renaissance Capital executives who paid Bill $500,000 for the June 29, 2010, speech, would have been barred from entering the U.S. under the law Hillary opposed.
This suspect timeline caught the attention of Bloomberg News in 2015. Emails released by Wikileaks indicate Bloomberg was preparing to run a story on Clinton’s sanctions opposition, but her campaign team interceded and somehow prevented the story from going to print.
“With the help of the research team, we killed a Bloomberg story trying to link HRC’s opposition to the Magnitsky bill to a $500,000 speech that WJC [Bill Clinton] gave in Moscow,” Jesse Lehrich, on the Rapid Response Communications team for Hillary For America wrote in a May 21, 2015, email.
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