The Note: The Speeches Bill Clinton Wasn't Allowed to Give

What we learned about Bill Clinton in new State Department emails.

ByABC News
August 28, 2015, 9:02 AM


--A LOOK AT THE SPEECHES: ABC News has obtained State Department e-mails that shed light on Bill Clinton's lucrative speaking engagements and show he and the Clinton Foundation tried to get approval for invitations related to two of the most repressive countries in the world -- North Korea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, ABC'S JONATHAN KARL reports. While Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State, Bill Clinton earned speaking fees around the globe totaling more than $48 million -- speeches that had to be vetted by the State Department to ensure there were no conflicts of interest with his wife's work as America's top diplomat. These newly revealed emails show speech requests that the State Department refused to approve. The emails -- which have come to light because of a public records request by the conservative group Citizens United, which sued the State Department to get the documents -- show just how far Bill Clinton was willing to go to earn those lucrative fees -- seeking approval for appearances with ties to two of the most brutal countries in the world.

ABC'S JONATHAN KARL has the exclusive reporting on GOOD MORNING AMERICA. WATCH:

--WHAT DID THE E MAILS SAY? One email sent in June 2012 to Clinton State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills from Amitabh Desai, a foreign policy director at the Clinton Foundation, passed on an invitation for a speaking engagement in Brazzaville, Congo. The catch? The dictators of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo would both be attending -- and required photos with Bill Clinton. The speaking fee? A whopping $650,000. The Harry Walker Agency, which worked with Clinton on coordinating his speeches, recommended declining the invite, noting the particularly grim human rights record of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its leader, Joseph Kabila. "Given President Kabila and others invovlement [sic] we anticipate you'll want us to quickly decline" the Harry Walker representative wrote.

--A LOOK INSIDE THE INBOX: Desai forwarded the e-mail to Mills and other State Department employees, including long-time Clinton aide Huma Abedin, asking for state's opinion on whether Bill Clinton could do the speech but give the money to the Clinton Foundation. "WJC wants know what state thinks of it if he took it 100% for the foundation," Desai wrote using Clinton's initials. "We'd welcome your thoughts." A second email thread in May 2012 shows another potentially thorny event -- subject line: "North Korea invitation." "Is it safe to assume [the U.S. Government] would have concerns about WJC accepting the attached invitation related to North Korea?" Desai wrote in an e-mail to Mills and two other State Department officials...Mills two-word response? "Decline it." But the Clinton Foundation followed up three weeks later, saying the invite came via Hillary Clinton's brother Tony Rodham. "We would be grateful for any specific concerns that we could share," Desai wrote. "Tony is seeing WJC in a couple hours." Mills wrote back to tell Bill Clinton, "If he needs more let him know his wife knows and I am happy to call him secure when he is near a secure line."

HILLARY CLINTON COMPARES GOP STANCE ON WOMEN'S HEALTH TO TERRORISTS' VIEWS. Hillary Clinton compared her Republican rivals' views on women's health issues to those of "terrorist groups" in a Cleveland speech Thursday. She named Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich calling their conservative views on reproductive rights "dead wrong for 21st America," pledging her campaign is "going forward, we are not going back." "Extreme views about women, we expect them from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don't want to live in the modern world, but it's a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States, yet they espouse out-of-date and out-of-touch policies," Clinton said. Clinton specifically named Rubio's position to make all abortions illegal even in case of rape and incest and Bush's position--along with many of his GOP opponents--to defund Planned Parenthood, according to ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE.

NEW DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIRMAN BLASTED CANDIDATE WHILE WORKING FOR RICK PERRY, EMAILS SHOW. Donald Trump's new national co-chairman Sam Clovis, who recently defected from Rick Perry's campaign, sent emails as recently as two months ago questioning Trump's Christian faith and condemning his comments about John McCain, according to emails obtained by ABC News. Sam Clovis, while serving as Perry's Iowa chairman, wrote in an email titled "Faith and Our Candidates" that one candidate's comments "reveal no foundation in Christ, which is a big deal." "Of all the potential candidates who spoke, one of them left me with questions about his moral center and his foundational beliefs," Clovis wrote. The candidate that Clovis was referring to was Trump, according to the Des Moines Register. In an interview with ABC News, Clovis said he and Trump resolved the issues expressed in the emails before signing on with his campaign, ABC's ALANA ABRAMSON and ARLETTE SAENZ report. "There's no better way to resolve it than to have a discussion," he said. "The answers that Mr. Trump gave me were more than satisfactory and I wouldn't be working for him if they weren't."

HOW DONALD TRUMP, HILLARY CLINTON AND THEIR 2016 RIVALS ARE RESPONDING TO THE VIRGINIA SHOOTING. The 2016 field of presidential candidates highlighted their various positions on gun control Thursday while offering prayers and support in the wake of a shooting in Virginia that took the lives of two television journalists. Other prominent shootings have prompted strong reactions from both sides -- calls for stronger gun control from the left and calls to respect the Second Amendment from the right. When Republican frontrunner Donald Trump was asked Thursday morning on CNN whether he would do something different with gun policy, he said he would not, according to ABC's RYAN STRUYK. "I don't think I would because this is really a sick person. This isn't a gun problem. This is a mental problem," he said. "That's what they should be focusing on instead of guns -- they should be talking about mental health because there's so many things that can be done." On the Democratic side, frontrunner Hillary Clinton vowed to continue her support for gun control after the tragic shooting.

POLL: 'LIAR' MOST FREQUENTLY ASSOCIATED WORD WITH HILLARY CLINTON. Crook," "weak," "joke" are just a few of the words that voters said when Quinnipiac University asked them the first word that pops into their heads when they think of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush. Quinnipiac asked 1,563 voters and reported only the words that were said at least five times, ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI notes. The word "liar" was mentioned 178 times in association with Hillary Clinton. "Arrogant" was said 58 times for Trump -- who's still leading the GOP pack with 28 percent support. Ironically, "Bush" is the top word that 136 people related to the former Florida governor. A few profanities were mentioned for Clinton and Trump. "Hair" was also mentioned eight times for Trump. Bush was associated with the word "boring" 10 times.

DONALD TRUMP ASKS A WOMAN TO PERFORM 'INSPECTION' TO SEE IF HE HAS TOUPEE. Donald Trump is ready to settle one issue once and for all: If he wears a rug. "I don't wear a toupee," Trump told a laughing crowd at an event in Greenville, South Carolina. "It's my hair. I swear." He then decided that the situation required an "inspection" -- so he called a woman from the crowd onto the stage to tug at his hair, ABC's RYAN STRUYK writes. "Come here! We're gonna settle this," he said. "Just come on up here. You have to do an inspection here. This is getting crazy." "Yes, I believe it is," the woman told the crowd when asked if the hair was real.

PRESIDENT OBAMA MARKS DECADE OF KATRINA RECOVERY WITH NEW ORLEANS VISIT. President Obama marked a decade of recovery after Hurricane Katrina, touring New Orleans yesterday not only to get a first-hand look at the progress made after the storm destroyed the city, but also to encourage its residents to achieve "real change." "If Katrina was initially an example of what happens when government fails, the recovery has been an example of what's possible when government works together," Obama said during remarks at a community center in New Orleans Thursday afternoon. The trip is Obama's sixth visit to New Orleans, and his ninth trip to Louisiana as President in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, ABC's JOHN PARKINSON notes.

'AMAZING GRACE': A LOOK INSIDE THE MUSICAL. It's a song known to many -- and a story known to few. "Amazing Grace" has been sung by pop artists, performed by public figures -- even presidents. Now, it has a Broadway debut in the musical "Amazing Grace," which chronicles the life of John Newton, writer of that beloved hymn, ABC's FREDA KAHEN-KASHI writes. "One of the most iconic songs in the Western world was the result of this life, this transformed life," creator Christopher Smith told ABC News. Smith, a former police officer, wrote the music and book for the musical after finding Newton's autobiography on a library visit in 1997. He's since worked tirelessly to bring the story of this slave-trader turned abolitionist to life.


@rickklein how far was Bill Clinton willing to go for speaking fees? North Korea & Congo. ... @jonkarl @GMA

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