The Russian lawyer who landed a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. during last year’s campaign with the promise of dirt on Hillary Clinton had one big thing in common with the Democratic candidate: Both had opposed Russia sanctions targeting human-rights abusers.
Further, former Secretary of State Clinton’s initial opposition coincided with a half-million-dollar speech her husband gave in Moscow – a link her 2016 campaign fought to downplay in the press, according to WikiLeaks-released documents.
Trump White House officials now are trying to draw attention to that speech and the Clintons’ ties to Russia in a bid to counter criticism over Trump Jr.’s now-infamous meeting.
“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 briefing last week. “Bill Clinton was paid half a million dollars to give a speech to a Russian bank, personally thanked by President Putin.”
The speech is now coming back to haunt the Clintons, considering the company that cut the check was allegedly tied to the scandal that spurred the Global Magnitsky Act, a bill that imposed sanctions on Russians designated as human-rights abusers and eventually would become law in 2012.