EXCLUSIVE: A senior executive at the Clinton Foundation left almost 150 telephone messages for Hillary Clinton’s top aide at the State Department within a two-year time frame, according to previously unpublished documents obtained by Fox News.
A review of State Department call logs for Cheryl Mills, the longtime Clinton confidant who served as chief of staff for the entirety of Clinton’s four-year tenure as America’s top diplomat, reflects at least 148 messages from Laura Graham – then the Clinton Foundation’s chief operating officer – between 2010 and 2012. No other individual or non-profit appears in the logs with anything like that frequency or volume, the review found.
One of the messages Graham left for Mills, in August 2011, referenced “our boss” – without further identifying that individual. Another, from January 2012, appeared to reference former President Clinton, using his initials: “Please call. WJC is looking for her [Graham] and she wants to talk to you before she talks to him.”
The telephone records were released by the State Department to the conservative advocacy group Citizens United as part of a long-running lawsuit over the Freedom of information Act.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said he could not provide “a read-out of every one of those messages or every one of those calls,” nor estimate how many of them were returned. But he acknowledged that Mills and Graham never shared the same boss and insisted the department “always” acted under Clinton to advance U.S. foreign policy interests, “with no other intent in mind beyond that.”
“Secretary Clinton's ethics agreement at the time [she assumed office] did not preclude other State Department officials from engaging with, or having contact with, the Clinton Foundation,” Toner said.
Absent additional detail, there is no evidence of any misconduct in the calls or contacts between Graham and Mills. But the records surfaced amid mounting questions about the relationship between the Clinton State Department and the Clinton foundation, and particularly about the role played by Mills.
“It's an amazing thing that the State Department spokesperson would actually make an argument,” said Citizens United President David Bossie, “that Hillary Clinton would be obligated under an ethics agreement that the White House made her sign with the foundation but her top employees would not be under that same agreement. I find it’s just very Clintonesque.”
Last week, the State Department acknowledged that in June 2012, Mills spent two days traveling to New York to interview job applicants at the foundation. The State Department said Mills “volunteered” to do so, but neither the department nor a spokesman for the Clinton presidential campaign, nor Mills’s attorney, would say whether Mills used annual leave or unpaid days to perform that work – or whether it was done on the taxpayers’ time.
The call logs reflect a wide cross-section of individuals angling for the secretary’s ear, from celebrities like Sean Penn to elder statesmen of the Democratic Party like Vernon Jordan. The messages include a number averring to irksome home-renovation issues Mills was facing, and even one left by the chief of staff’s mother, who told her daughter, through the intermediary of a State Department secretary, in September 2011: “Please call. Hadn’t heard from you in so long and was wondering if you are out of town.”
James Rosen joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1999. He currently serves as the chief Washington correspondent and hosts the online show "The Foxhole." His latest book is "A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century" (Crown Forum, October 4, 2016).