Citing previously reported allegations, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign on Friday sought to link his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s vote, as Senator in 2008, for the India-US nuclear deal to donations to the Clinton Foundation by Samajwadi Party politician Amar Singh.
These donations, from $1 million to $5 million, and the “potential for appearances of conflict” were first reported by The New York Times in 2008 shortly after the deal was approved by the US Congress.
A framework for the India-US civil nuclear agreement was signed by then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George W Bush in 2005, but the deal was concluded in 2008 after ratification by the Senate.
Clinton, who as Senator had co-founded the Senate India caucus, backed the deal, which passed by a 86-13 vote.
In a 35-page note of “Top 50 Facts About Hillary Clinton” released on Friday, the Trump campaign reproduced portions of the NYT report to link Clinton’s nuclear deal vote to the donations: “The potential for appearances of conflict was illustrated by Amar Singh, a politician in India who gave $1 million to $5 million. Mr. Singh visited the United States in September to lobby for a deal allowing India to obtain civilian nuclear technology even though it never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. He met with Mrs. Clinton, who he said assured him that Democrats would not block the deal. Congress approved it weeks later.”
These allegations were recycled along with others in a book published in April 2015 titled “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Help Make Bill and Hillary Rich” .
The Clinton campaign had then said, “Clinton Cash is attempting to rewrite history to fit a pre-determined partisan narrative. It only takes a quick look at Hillary’s actual voting record and statements to see that this conspiracy theory doesn’t even come close to passing the smell test.”
Singh told Economic Times that was not his money: “That is not my donation, I have not given that money to the Clinton Foundation. If any friend has done that on my behalf I am grateful to them, but it’s not mine.”
The Trump campaign has once again brought up the allegations. It also cited a USA Today report to say the Confederation of Indian Industry, a trade body, paid the Clinton Foundation $500,000 to $1 million, but did not link it to the nuclear deal.
The note went on to cite another news report about former President Bill Clinton telling Amar Singh in a handwritten letter about his foundation giving a family in Haiti an “efficient charcoal stove and briquettes manufactured from 100 per cent recycled waste”.
Some news reports about the Trump campaign note also cited Clinton, as secretary of state, appointing a Chicago businessman and donor Raj Fernando to a sensitive body, misidentifying him as Indian-American. He is of Sri Lankan descent.