Did She or Didn’t She?

In Clinton Cash I argue that Hillary Clinton flip flopped on her position concerning the U.S. –Indian civilian nuclear deal after the Clinton Foundation had received millions from interested parties in India and Bill Clinton was paid to give speeches by interested parties.

Politico has argued that I am incorrect, that Hillary Clinton supported the Indian nuclear deal from the beginning back in 2006 and cite a press release wherein Hillary Clinton declares her intent to support the legislation. Politifact now weighs in with a similar claim.

What are the facts?

Both Politico and Politifact ignore the Indian media, which is full of accounts from political figures frustrated with then-Senator Hillary Clinton because she was not supporting the legislation on terms that India favors.

Also ignored by both Politifact and Politico is that fact that Hillary Clinton supported three killer amendments that she supported after she issued that press release. These amendments, called “killer amendments” by Senators Dick Lugar and Joe Biden as well as the Congressional Research Service, put restrictions on Indian use of U.S. nuclear technology — something the Indian government did not want. These amendments included the Feingold Amendment, which Sen. Lugar, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted was “a truly killer amendment” that would “force a re-negotiation of the agreement or make implementation ‘impossible.’” The Feingold amendment also sought to cap fissile production, as noted in Clinton Cash. Senator Clinton was one of 25 Senators to vote in favor of the amendment.

After Sen. Feingold’s effort to modify the deal failed, Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced an amendment that Indian supporters found so threatening they “sent out an SOS to all Senators,” because, as India Abroad noted, they felt the Boxer amendment “would torpedo the deal.” Hillary Clinton supported this one, too.

Bottom line: Hillary’s position on the issue, like the finances of her foundation, was far from clear or transparent, as many Indian news accounts attest.

But don’t take my word for it. Take the word of one of the Clinton’s closest friends: Sant Chatwal. A longtime financial benefactor who contributed to the Clinton Foundation, raised money for Hillary’s political campaigns and arranged for paid speeches by Bill, (The Clintons made Chatwal a trustee of the Clinton Foundation and they attended his sons weddings.) Chatwal declared that back in 2006 “Even my close friend Hillary Clinton was not in favor of the deal then.” In fact, Chatwal was quoted this week as saying Hillary was “never in favor of the deal.”

So why would Hillary and her campaign maestros engage in these sort smokescreen tactics?

One potential reason is to mask Hillary’s relationship to questionable Indian figures like Chatwal and Amar Singh. As Clinton Cash reports, Bill Clinton made $600,000 for two speeches organized by supporters of the Indian nuclear deal, including one that brought Bill $450,000, which Chatwal helped to arrange. In 2014, Chatwal pled guilty to illegally funneling campaign to Hillary.

The Indian government clearly saw the efforts of those giving money to the Clintons as essential to getting Hillary Clinton to support the deal. In 2010, Chatwal was given the country’s most prestigious civilian honors because he “played an important role in getting Hillary Clinton to support the nuclear deal. He is close to the Clintons,” said Sanjaya Baru, who was media advisor to the Indian Prime Minister.

A second reason for Hillary’s obfuscation on Clinton Cash’s India reporting is that I discuss her and Bill Clinton’s connection with an obscure member of Indian Parliament, Amar Singh. Singh supposedly donated between $1 to $5 million (amounts are reported in ranges, not exact numbers) to the Clinton campaign. However, just this week, Singh denied that he made such a donation. “That is not my donation, I have not given that money to the Clinton Foundation. If any friend has done that on my behalf, I am grateful to them, but it is not mine,” said Singh. Indian politicians are now calling for a congressional inquiry into Singh’s gifts to the Clintons.

Top news outlets have and continue to use Clinton Cash’s factual revelations to break new investigative stories- including the discovery of more than 1,000 other undisclosed Clinton Foundation donations. Those donations’ true origins and the motivations behind them, like the contribution attributed to Singh, remain unclear.

Americans are more than aware that the Clintons are masters of political misdirection, partisan blame-shifting, and character assassination. But facts aren’t ideological. And the facts related to Hillary Clinton’s shifting position on the India nuclear agreement, and the influx of money to her foundation as well as her husband’s pockets, deserve to be heard.