Clinton declined one-on-one with Trudeau in 2014 after Liberals turned apolitical event into fundraiser

Senior Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin raised concerns about Justin Trudeau’s staff ahead of Clinton’s trip to Ottawa in 2014, emails released by Wikileaks Wednesday show.

“As Trudeaus team is aware, there was some unhappiness that they used this event to raise money for their party when this was supposed to be a completely ,” said Abedin.

Clinton delivered a at the Ottawa Convention Centre on Oct. 6, 2014 organized by the think tank Canada 2020.

In the run-up to the event, senior staff to Trudeau scrambled to organize a one-on-one between the then-leader of the Liberal party and the soon-to-be Democratic candidate for president.

“Both the Leader and Sophie will be in the crowd to hear the speech, but there is a strong desire to work on a one-on-one with HRC (Hillary Rodham Clinton) during her visit,” wrote the Liberal Party’s then-director of operations and outreach, Marlene Floyd, in an email to a group of senior Trudeau staff on Sept. 19.


Gerald Butts, currently Trudeau’s principal , the email to Matt Browne at the think tank the Centre for American Progress later that day writing: “Help!!!”.

A few hours later, Browne forwarded Butts’ email to Clinton’s campaign chairman, John , who included campaign vice-chairwoman Abedin in an email on Sept. 21 with the question: “Does she want to try to see Justin Trudeau?”

On Oct. 3, three days before Clinton’s speech in Ottawa, Browne wrote to Abedin and Podesta, saying that he had spoken on the phone with Butts earlier that day.

“I spoke with Gerry Butts, Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff today. They understand that a meeting with Foreign Minister Baird has been , and are hopeful that a meeting can be arranged with Mr Trudeau too during the Ottawa visit,” said Browne.

Browne pointed out that Trudeau was leading in the polls. “It looks increasingly likely that he will be Prime Minister in a year’s time,” said Browne.


Abedin wrote back to Browne on Oct. 3 saying there was no scheduled meeting with Baird, but both Baird and Trudeau would be allowed to come backstage. In that email, she mentioned Trudeau’s team was aware of concerns they had used the event to raise money for the Liberal party when it was supposed to be apolitical. Clinton’s campaign did not reply to a request for comment.

A post on the Liberal party’s website dated Sept. 30 2014 details a drive capitalizing on Hillary Clinton’s event. The post says it’s the last day to be entered to win the chance for “Breakfast with Justin Trudeau and one of his senior advisors (you bring the big idea!), and a chance to hear former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak over lunch on October 6, 2014.”

Asked Wednesday how Trudeau’s team addressed Abedin’s concerns, Trudeau’s press secretary Cameron Ahmad said: “The Prime Minister met briefly with Secretary Clinton at the event hosted by Canada 2020 in 2014. They did not hold any formal bilateral.”

The speech Clinton gave on Oct. 6 was a private event where tickets for a table of ten cost $5,000. Clinton was paid $215,000 for her remarks.

About Zane Schwartz