Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai requested a meeting with Hillary Clinton’s top aides in January 2016, according to an internal email circulated among the former secretary of State’s senior presidential campaign officials.
“Chinese Ambassador Cui invited me over to the residence Tuesday for a coffee and to make a request. He wants to have an informal, private, off the record get together with a few of us to discuss the next year and the current state of US-China affairs,” wrote Clinton campaign aide Kurt Campbell in the Jan. 7, 2016, email.
“He asked me to host a social meal at my house in the next month. He was fairly insistent and indicated that he wanted to pass along some perspectives. I told him I’d reach out to you all to see about your judgement on this and possible availability. I’m happy to make some chili and cornbread by the fire but let’s first decide whether this makes sense. Please let me know your thinking,” Campbell said.
The email is one among hundreds of emails to and from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta that were made public by Wikileaks during the 2016 election cycleHow Netanyahu's speech to Congress has jeopardised US-Israel relations
The White House is particularly incensed that the Israeli ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, and John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, conspired to arrange the speech to a joint sitting of Congress without consulting the administration. Democrats accuse Boehner of ambushing the president as the Republicans push – with the backing of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington – to strengthen sanctions against Iran, a move Obama has warned “will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails”.
But it was Dermer, who was born in the US and worked as a Republican political operative before moving to Israel, who instigated Netanyahu’s address to Congress.
Netanyahu has defended the speech as a legitimate attempt to stop Obama from making concessions to Iran that the Israeli leader said will leave Tehran on the brink of being able to build a nuclear weapon.