NYT's Flawed Effort To Scandalize Clintons
Writer Acknowledges "No Evidence" To Support Insinuations
Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN
The New York Times published a guilt-by-association attack on Hillary Clinton, attempting to connect a trade dispute over alleged steel dumping to the former secretary of state through unrelated philanthropic connections.
Citing a Commerce Department investigation into dumping allegations against Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian business leader, reporter Amy Chozick fixated on Pinchuk's relationship to the Clintons as if it were news to Times readers:
Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton have built a sprawling network of powerful friends around the globe, one that could aid Mrs. Clinton's chances were she to seek the presidency. But those relationships often come with intersecting interests and political complications; few people illustrate that more vividly than the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk.
But in 2008, the Times published a front-page story on Pinchuk which reported his relationship with former President Bill Clinton. The article also detailed that Pinchuk is one of the biggest non-American donors to the Clinton Foundation; that Clinton acknowledged the relationship and praised Pinchuk's philanthropy; that the former president spoke in Yalta advocating strengthening Ukraine's ties to the United States and Europe, a cause close to both men; and that Pinchuk attended a birthday party for Clinton (as well as one for former President George H. W. Bush).
Chozick's story does not acknowledge the prior Times account. Instead, it rehashes old details and attempts to tie them to the pending Commerce Department investigation. Yet Chozick offers no evidence to suggest that the Clintons are connected to that dispute in any way. On the contrary, she acknowledges that there is no evidence that Bill or Hillary Clinton, or anybody in the government, has intervened in the trade dispute. Chozick wrote:
There is no evidence that Mr. Pinchuk or Mr. Schoen discussed anything other than the political crisis in Ukraine with the State Department, or that any United States officials tried to influence the trade case.
Chozick even quotes Pinchuk as saying that he has never spoken to Bill or Hillary Clinton about his business interests and that doing so would jeopardize his philanthropic work.
So there's no evidence that the Clintons are connected in any way with the trade case, yet they are the central focus of a 1,200-word exposé into the trade case.
One of the few pieces of new information the Times reports involve meetings Pinchuk held with State Department officials during Secretary Clinton's tenure regarding his philanthropic work. Chozick reported:
At times those meetings overlapped with Mr. Pinchuk's other involvements with the Clintons. For instance, in 2012, Mr. Pinchuk took a break from the Clinton Global Initiative to meet upstairs in a hotel suite with Melanne Verveer, a close aide to Mrs. Clinton and ambassador at large for global women's issues at the State Department.
Despite Chozick's insinuations about "overlapp[ing]" meetings, her own reporting shows Verveer stating that those meetings were to discuss democratization in the Ukraine. It's also a matter of public record that Verveer and Pinchuk have partnered on an initiative to cultivate women leaders.
The second new piece of information regarding the Clintons' connections is the fact that Doug Schoen, a former Clinton political adviser, is a lobbyist for Pinchuk. But again, Schoen explicitly told the Times his lobbying has focused solely on the political situation in Ukraine, not on Pinchuk's business interests.
In short, the Times, while suggesting a link between the Clintons and the trade case pending at the Commerce Department, says it has no evidence to support the link, and reports that everyone the Times spoke to says there is no link.