The Wall Street Journal: John Podesta and the Russians

John Podesta and the Russians
James Freeman, The Wall Street Journal

When did Clinton’s top aide stop doing business with Moscow?

Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta has responded to the WikiLeaks publication of his private emails by suggesting they were stolen by the Russians to elect Donald Trump. What he doesn’t like to talk about is the business he’s done with a Kremlin-backed investment firm and the lengths he’s gone to avoid scrutiny of this relationship.

“Clinton Cash” author Peter Schweizer and the Trump campaign have been urging the media to pay attention to Mr. Podesta’s Russian connection and perhaps they should. The story begins in 2011 when the solar energy startup Joule Unlimited announced that Mr. Podesta had been elected to its board of directors.

podestawikilealsk_small-2 The Wall Street Journal: John Podesta and the Russians Corruption

The emails published on WikiLeaks show that around the time he was returning to the White House, Mr. Podesta wrote to Joule requesting the transfer of his shares to an entity called Leonidio Holdings, LLC, which had been created just weeks earlier.

On Wednesday a Clinton campaign spokesman told us that Mr. Podesta cut his ties with Joule when he returned to the White House in 2014, “transferred the entirety of his holdings to his adult children” and “recused himself from all matters pertaining to Joule for the duration of his time at the White House.”

But WikiLeaks also shows Mr. Podesta receiving a bill for legal expenses related to Leonidio’s incorporation in Delaware. We wonder how often people pay the bills to create corporations in which they have no interest.

The Clinton campaign did not make Mr. Podesta available for an interview. Perhaps he figures that with Mrs. Clinton leading in the polls he can avoid the topic through Election Day and then declare it all old news. Meantime, voters can be forgiven for discounting his protests about the Kremlin and Donald Trump.

Mr. Freeman is assistant editor of the Journal’s editorial page.

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