Mention any Clinton scandal and inevitably the name of Cheryl Mills will appear. She was Bill Clinton’s deputy counsel in his years in the White House and is best known for defending the President in his impeachment hearing before the Senate.
But there is a more sinister side to her White House tenure. She forged a relationship with Hillary during this period and appears as driven by the same “vast right wing conspiracy” belief that drives Hillary and deals with it with zeal. She is believed to be behind the release of government documents regarding Kathleen Willey, a Clinton campaign worker who accused the President of sexual advances. This is the same Cheryl Mills who was at the center of the White House getting its hands on FBI files on former Bush and Reagan White House aids. A later investigation and lawsuit revealed that over 1.8 million e-mails were missing and unaccounted for (sound familiar?). Mills further ordered another White House operative to shut up about the files. She was also behind the delay in Freedom of Information Act requests. Many of these requests came regarding investigations of the Commerce Department’s tendency to appoint key Democratic donors to trade commissions.
After winning the impeachment fight, she turned down the Chief Counsel’s job and after leaving the White House, she joined New York University and was instrumental in that college establishing a campus in the United Arab Emirates. She was also a key operative in Oprah Winfrey’s Oxygen television channel and a worker at the Center for American Progress, the large Leftist think tank. But, in 2006 she joined the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. It was during the meltdown of that campaign that Mills took on added importance to Clinton. She took over the campaign and suppressed a lot of the animosity between the competing camps. Although Clinton fell short, she came to respect and count on Mills even more.
When Obama won the nomination and eventually the presidency, it became obvious that Clinton would join the administration and the State Department seemed the best fit. But there existed ill-will and suspicion between the Obama side and the Clinton side. Specifically, Obama worried that Clinton would create a shadow political apparatus at the State Department which is why he vetoed some of her more trusted advisers. Sidney Blumenthal is the best example. Still, Clinton managed to bring in Cheryl Mills as her chief of staff.
After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Mills volunteered to take charge there. She helped engineer new elections and the recovery effort that although she touted as a success, many Haitians found wanting. Also in this period, the Inspector General discovered that about $6 billion in State Department contracts were incorrectly filed or granted, most under Clinton’s leadership.
Then there was the Isaiahs affair. Roberto and William Isaiahs had been found guilty in abstentia of money laundering and bank fraud in Ecuador and were fighting extradition. They were also major donors to the DNC and to the Clinton 2008 campaign. Estafania Isaiahs, the daughter of Roberto, had been denied entry into the US for lying on a previous visa application regarding the status of four “housekeepers.” The US consular office in Ecuador had denied the visa, but the elder Isaiahs appealed to [mc_name name=’Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000639′ ] who then contacted the State Department. It was Mills who then overrode the consular office. Isaiahs later made contributions to the DNC and Menendez.
Regarding the Keystone pipeline controversy, an environmental group- Friends of the Earth- as part of an FOIA request, uncovered correspondence between the US embassy in Ottawa and Paul Elliot, a lobbyist for TransCanada, the builder of the pipeline. Elliot had donated to the Clinton 2008 campaign. After this disclosure, Mills took over all FOIA requests at the State Department wrestling control from the experts in that area. Soon thereafter, the State Department delayed most FOIA requests and disclosures slowed to a trickle.
Mills also rubber-stamped over 300 speeches by Bill Clinton while his wife was Secretary of State. Many of these speeches were before or sponsored by people, governments and businesses who had business pending before the State Department. About 200 of these speeches were paid appearances totaling more than $50 million for the Clintons. Very few requests were denied. Mills also intervened in the investigation of the Iraqi ambassador designee over his leaking sensitive information to a reporter. But most hypocritical was her firing of Scott Gratiot- the ambassador to Kenya- for using a private e-mail account to conduct State Department business.
She is also up to her ears in the Benghazi scandal. The problem likely starts with the hiring of Charlene Lamb to head the Department’s office of diplomatic security. Over the objections of many State Department veterans, Mills and Clinton intervened and pushed through her appointment. Lamb was later fired in the wake of the Benghazi incident- a literal sacrificial lamb.
There are the accusations of Robert Maxwell who claims he witnessed a late night Benghazi document shredding orgy in the basement of the State Department. When he questioned the action, he was told they were working under orders. Mills later showed up and reprimanded Maxwell who found himself demoted when he spoke to reporter Sharyl Atkinson. Placed on administrative leave for over five months, he could not appeal the decision since he was not fired. John Kerry later reinstated him noting he did no wrong.
She also instructed State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland to stop answering media questions about Benghazi. This was the same Nuland who originally questioned the accuracy of the infamous talking points spread by Susan Rice. Nuland had noted that the original draft mentioned terrorism, but the final draft was scrubbed of such references at the insistence of the State Department. She also pressured Libyan embassy official Gregory Hicks not to answer congressional investigator questions and later called and reprimanded him for doing so.
The whole reaction in the aftermath of Benghazi was one of optics. The State Department and her “successful” tenure was to be a stepping stone to the presidency. Anything that detracted from that appearance of success would alter those plans. Having an ambassador murdered in a terrorist attack after repeated warnings about security from that embassy would certainly alter those plans. Thus, it was up to the old Clinton fixer and cover-up artist to lead the charge and call to arms.
But, much of it is unraveling especially since it was discovered that Clinton used a private e-mail server while Secretary of State. It does not help her case that both Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills also used the same server. And after it was discovered, it was Clinton who put Mills in charge of erasing “private” e-mails.
There are two other incidents involving Mills. The first involves the announcement that after Clinton stepped down in 2013 that Mills would become a board member at the Clinton Foundation. However, there is evidence that she worked in an official capacity at that Foundation while also a State Department employee. When the Clinton Foundation applied for non-profit status in Florida in 2010, Cheryl Mills was listed as one of three directors. If so, this is a serious conflict of interest and may explain her rubber stamping Bill Clinton’s speeches in this time period.
The second is the revelation that her private cell phone number and e-mail address were found in the effects of Jeffrey Epstein, the registered sex offender, political donor and friend of Bill Clinton. That has never been explained.
If anything, Cheryl Mills illustrates the fact that whatever the institution associated with Hillary Clinton, it has been used as a political ploy for future campaign contributions and personnel. That is true of the White House, the Clinton Foundation, CAP, or the State Department. And when the heat came too near to Hillary, there was Cheryl Mills to erect a firewall that possibly crossed a legal boundary, but definitely crossed an ethical one. It was reported that Mills advised Clinton against a 2016 run for President. Eventually the web of lies and deceit will unravel under the spotlight of a presidential campaign. Perhaps this is the reason Mills advised Clinton not to run. There are too many ethical skeletons to be uncovered and Mills is the spine of that skeleton.