Media's Favorite Anti-Trump Diplomat Is a Former Hillary Aide Who Enabled Her Email Practices

July 29, 2020

The national media's reporting on misconduct allegations against Woody Johnson, the Trump-appointed ambassador to the U.K., has relied on a single named source: Lew Lukens, the ambassador's former deputy who was fired after praising former president Barack Obama in a speech.

The reporting doesn't mention it, but Lukens is hardly an objective source. Months after Donald Trump was sworn into office in 2017, Lukens was identified as one of several U.S. diplomats engaged in a "quiet revolt amid tensions with Trump." Among other things, Lukens's "quiet revolt" involved a tweet of support for Sadiq Khan, the diminutive London mayor with whom Trump was feuding at the time.

A career diplomat who graduated from Princeton's controversial Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Lukens was also a senior aide in Hillary Clinton's State Department from 2008 to 2011. His role as logistics chief made him a key player in the scandal surrounding Clinton's use of a secret email server for "personal comfort."

Court records indicate that days after Obama took office in 2009, Lukens and other senior Clinton aides discussed how to circumvent the security policies Hillary didn't want to follow as secretary of state. Lukens suggested a "stand-alone" computer be placed in Clinton's office to allow the secretary to check emails. The suggestion was shot down because Hillary was "not adept or not used to checking her emails on a desktop" and insisted on using a BlackBerry connected to the secret server in her basement.

Lukens has made a number of allegations against his former boss, most notably that Johnson pressured U.K. officials to move the British Open golf tournament to Trump's Turnberry resort in Scotland. Johnson, Trump, and the British government have denied the accusation, but Lukens and "other diplomats" told the New York Times the alleged unethical behavior not only happened, but left them feeling "deeply unsettled."

Following his dismissal from the U.S. embassy in London, Lukens became a senior partner at Signum Global Advisors. The consulting firm's founder, investment banker Charles Myers, is a longtime Democratic donor who advised Hillary Clinton's failed presidential campaign in 2016 and is currently a bundler for the Biden Victory Fund.

Myers recently expressed confidence that Biden's efforts to court Bernie Sanders supporters would not stop a Biden administration from nominating Wall Street executives to senior cabinet positions. Last month, Lukens and Myers coauthored a note to Signum's clients predicting that Democrats would regain control of the Senate in 2021.