At NC rally, Donald Trump accuses Hillary Clinton of ‘pay for play’ in Morocco after email hack
FLETCHER, N.C. — Donald Trump on Friday accused his rival Hillary Clinton of engaging in “pay for play” for accepting an invitation to speak at a Clinton Global Initiative event in Morocco in exchange for a $12 million donation pledge to the Clinton Foundation from that country’s king.
The accusation is just the latest Trump has leveled against Clinton as he’s argued she engaged in “pay for play” schemes involving the Clinton Foundation during her time as secretary of state. But the Clinton Global Initiative summit in Morocco that Clinton was set to attend in exchange for the $12 million pledge took place in May 2015 and was discussed in emails by Clinton’s top aides in November 2014, after her tenure as secretary of state ended.
Clinton did not end up attending the summit. CNN has reached out to the Clinton campaign for comment on Trump’s comments and have not yet gotten a response.
The accusation is just another example in Trump’s attempts to label Clinton as a “corrupt” figure as he increasingly looks to frame his candidacy as that of an outsider looking to shake up the system.
“Now from WikiLeaks, we just learned she tried to get 12 million (dollars) from the king of Morocco for an appearance,” Trump said during a rally here Friday. “More pay for play.”
Trump then went on to tout the series of ethics reforms he unveiled earlier this week that he would prevent members of Congress and executive branch officials from serving as lobbyists for at least five years after their government service concluded. Trump also called for imposing term limits on members of Congress. None of those reforms would have addressed the “pay for play” Trump alleged Friday that Clinton engaged in.
Trump’s accusation came after WikiLeaks published its latest batch of emails hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s account, which revealed correspondence with Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin describing the Moroccan arrangement.
Abedin wrote in a November 2014 email that Clinton’s “presence (at the 2015 summit) was a condition for the Moroccans to proceed so there is no going back on this.”
In another email two months later, Abedin wrote that “the condition upon which the Moroccans agreed to host the meeting was her participation. If (Clinton) was not part of it, meeting was a non-starter.”
Abedin adds that it was Clinton’s “idea” to hold the Clinton Foundation meeting in Morocco and said it would be problematic for Clinton to pull out at the last minute.
“It will break a lot of china to back out now when we had so many opportunities to do it in the past few months. She created this mess and she knows it,” Abedin wrote.
CNN cannot independently confirm the emails’ authenticity. The Clinton campaign has declined to verify the emails but has not challenged any emails in other WikiLeaks releases.
The emails were part of more than 50,000 hacked emails from Podesta’s account that WikiLeaks claims to have. The organization has published 25,000 so far.
US officials have said there is “mounting evidence” that Russia is passing along hacked documents to WikiLeaks — prompting concerns that the Russian government is seeking to influence the US elections.
When asked about content of Podesta’s emails during the final presidential debate Wednesday, Clinton said the Russians have “engaged in espionage against Americans” and that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s choice to be America’s next leader because he would be a “puppet” for the Kremlin.