Debate Check: Hillary’s Record of Failure Dealing with Russia

Jim Stinson,

Clinton pushes claim Trump is the Kremlin’s pick to distract from her bungled reset.

At the third presidential debate, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton launched into another attack on Russian ties to Republican candidate Donald Trump.

“[Russian President Vladimir Putin] has a very clear favorite in this race,” said Clinton, quickly diverting away from a question on her remarks to a Brazilian bank in which she called for open borders.

Putin seemed to sense weakness in Clinton and Obama, and soon began to assert himself in his sphere.

Clinton then proceeded to blame the recent and humiliating WikiLeaks disclosures on the Kremlin, which is a theory of intelligence agencies but has not been verified yet. It’s all Clinton can do to take the focus off the ongoing WikiLeaks disclosures.

The leaked emails from campaign Chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account have become a daily dreaded ritual to endure for the Clinton team, and the only way Clinton has tried to distract from them is to blame the leaks on Russia.

The U.S. government has generally indicated that investigators believe Russia is responsible. But no proof has been publicly offered.

Hillary-Clinton-and-Vladimir-Putin_small-2 Debate Check: Hillary’s Record of Failure Dealing with Russia Foreign Policy  One reason it’s easy for Clinton to point to Russia as a boogeyman is because relations with President Vladimir Putin decayed under Clinton while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

Clinton and President Obama, who rode into office sneering at President George W. Bush’s foreign policy — promised a kinder, gentler approach to the world. The world’s nations would love us, Obama and his newly minted secretary of state promised.

Clinton was dispatched to Russia to improve relations with the former superpower.

Clinton actually went to Geneva, Switzerland, where she met with Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister. The misfire at the event would become a metaphor for Obama and Clinton’s foreign policy — especially with Russia.

Clinton provided with a “reset button” and posed with him for a photo-op. But it soon became clear that the “reset” button wasn’t working. Specifically, someone at the State Department didn’t understand Russian. The Russian word on the button didn’t mean “reset.” Instead, it meant “overcharge.”

Putin seemed to sense weakness in Clinton and Obama, and soon began to assert himself in his sphere.

Putin allowed domestic spy Edward Snowden to sneak into the country and stay there. He also moved troops into the Ukraine in 2014 after the end of a pro-Putin government. Russia would later annex the Ukraine’s Crimea, a peninsula in the Black Sea that is mostly populated with Russians.

The Crimea humiliation is perhaps the reason Clinton — and her husband, former President Bill Clinton — had to adjust to the new reality of Russian domination in Eastern Europe.

In one way, Clinton may have even sought to appease Putin. In a new email made public by WikiLeaks on Wednesday, a pro-Western Ukranian, businessman Victor Pinchuk, wanted to meet with Bill Clinton in early 2015.

“Victor Pinchuk is relentlessly following up (including this morning) about a meeting with WJC [Bill Clinton] in London or anywhere in Europe,” wrote Amitabh Desai, an aide to the former president, to a group of Clinton aides, including Podesta. “Ideally he wants to bring together a few western leaders to show support for Ukraine, with WJC probably their most important participant. If that’s not palatable for us, then he’d like a bilat (meeting) with WJC.”

There is no record of a meeting between Pinchuk and Bill Clinton. It’s possible Podesta nixed it, as he said in the email that not meeting with Pinchuk was preferable. “No is better,” Podesta wrote.

And if Russia is so bad, one has to wonder why Clinton, while secretary of state, allowed a Russian-owned company to buy a uranium ore company which had control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium.

In 2009, a Russian agency, Rosatom, sets its eyes on acquiring the company — but it needed U.S. approval. As The New York Times reported on April 23, 2015, “as the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation.”

As much as $145 million made its way to the Clinton Foundation, according to Peter Schweizer, the author of “Clinton Cash.” Russia was able to take control of about 20 percent of U.S. uranium, all while Clinton was secretary of state and all while millions of dollars flowed into her family charity.

This huge favor to the Russians still hasn’t endeared Clinton or Obama to Putin. Relations are bad between the United States and Russia. Russian jets regularly buzz by U.S. troops. The U.S. Army is helping Eastern European states prepare for Russian aggression — possibly in the Baltic states. Crimea is likely gone forever.

It’s surprising Clinton mentions Russia at all.