Clinton Camp, Allies On Defense Over Clinton’s Shady Record

- August 21, 2016

Campaign Manager Mook And Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) Reeling From Questions On Clinton Foundation Conflicts, Foreign Funding, Secret Server Scandal


Pressed Over Whether The Clinton Foundation Is A Liability And Should Be Shuttered, Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook Claimed The Clinton Foundation Wants To Go "As Far As They Possibly Can" To Avoid Conflicts Of Interest. ABC'S GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: "It's not just Secretary Clinton's critics who are suggesting a change should come. You've had former governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell said they should stop taking the contributions now. The Boston Globe, who endorsed Clinton said the Clinton Foundation is clearly a liable for Hillary Clinton as she seeks the presidency. The foundation should remove a political and actual distract and stop accepting funding. If Clinton is elected, the foundation should be shut down. Will that happen?" MOOK: "What the foundation has said is that they'll continue to operate. Again, George, I want to keep in mind. Millions of people around the world depend on life saving health treatments that the foundation provides. Just pulling the plug on that literally would threaten lives around the globe. The foundation is in the process of figuring out how to refocus, reshift. The steps they've pledged to take as a philanthropic organization are unprecedented. You didn't hear about the Bush foundation when the second Bush came into office. His family continued to stay on the board. President Clinton has said he'll step down from the Clinton Foundation board." STEPHANOPOULOS: "Hasn't it become a liability?" MOOK: "No, look, what the foundation is saying is that they don't want to become a distraction. They want to go as far as they possibly can to make sure there's no possible conflict of interests." (ABC's " This Week," 8/21/16)

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When Pressed On Why The Clinton Foundation's Foreign Donation Ban Did Not Apply In The Past, Nor Will It Before The Election, Mook Claimed Clinton's Conflict Of Interest Rules Will Be Unprecedented. CNN'S DANA BASH: "While there are a lot of questions about what role Bill would play if Hillary Clinton becomes president. We now know one he won't. The ex-president said this week that he will step down from the board of the Clinton Foundation if his wife is elected. The foundation also announced if Clinton wins it will stop accepting donations from foreign governments and corporations, a move that even some supporters should have happened years ago. Joining me now is the Clinton campaign manager, Robby Mook. Thanks for joining me. My first question for you is about the Clinton foundation. It announced on Thursday it will not accept foreign donations if Hillary Clinton is elected president. 40% of the foundation's top donors, those giving more than a million dollars, are foreign. So if it's not okay to take this money as president, why was it okay to take it as secretary of state? CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER ROBBY MOOK: "Well, first of all, when the rules were put in place in 2009, they were a big burden on the foundation. And it's important to remember what the foundation does. Over 10 million people around the world get important AIDS medication, life-saving AIDS and HIV medication because of the foundation. The foundation reduced the cost of Malaria drugs by more than 90%. This is important, life-saving work. There are some foreign governments like Australia and Norway that were -- that had existing donations to the foundation and the foundation wanted them to be able to follow through on their commitments so the work could be protected. But it was an unprecedented step they took back in 2009, and the foundation is saying they're prepared to make an unprecedented step should Hillary become president to go even further in terms of disclosure and limits." BASH: "But if this is the right policy now, why not do it now? Why wait until the idea of her being president. Why not do it when she is running for president?" MOOK: "Well, the foundation is doing an enormous amount of work, and it takes time when you're in a number of countries around the world to retool, refocus the mission, and adapt. As you said, they receive a great of funding through these streams. It will just take some time for them to readjust. Look, what we're focused on right now is making sure Hillary Clinton is elected president, so nobody wants to get ahead of themselves. But we're glad to hear that they have once again taken an unprecedented step in terms of transparency and rules." BASH: "Robby, I know you understand this. part of the issue with a lot of voters keeping her from being President, keeping voters from going into the booth and voting for her, is they think that, you know, that there are lots of questions about the integrity or honesty of her experience in politics and that this is one of them. So, considering that, why not, if you're going to take this step, do now to make clear that there is no issue here with her accepting foreign donations or others from people who might be trying to affect her and trying to get around giving it to the campaign the way anybody else would?" MOOK: "What the foundation did was unprecedented as I said, what they're going to do is unprecedented as well." (CNN's "State Of The Union," 8/21/16)

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But The Foundation New Conflicts Rules Exempt Two Of Its Entities Which Account For A Majority Of Its Expenditures

The Clinton Foundation's Plan To No Longer Accept Foreign Government Funding Does Not Include Its Largest Arm, The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). "The largest program of the Clinton Foundation, the family philanthropy of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, is still weighing whether to continue accepting foreign donations should Clinton be elected, a spokeswoman said on Friday. … [R]epresentatives of the charities confirmed on Friday that the new guidelines would only apply to a small portion of the foundation's activities, including its work on climate change and some of its work on economic development." (Jonathan Allen, "Clinton Foundation Health Project Still Mulling Foreign Donations," Reuters, 8/19/16)

  • CHAI: "CHAI Is A Separate Legal Entity From The Clinton Foundation With Its Own Board." "'CHAI is a separate legal entity from the Clinton Foundation with its own Board,' Regan Lachapelle, a CHAI spokeswoman, said in an email. 'The CHAI Board will be meeting soon to determine its next steps.'" (Jonathan Allen, "Clinton Foundation Health Project Still Mulling Foreign Donations," Reuters, 8/19/16)

CHAI Accounts For Nearly 60 Percent Of The Foundation's Expenditures For The Most Recent Year Available. "CHAI accounts for nearly 60 percent of the $250 million the foundation spent in 2014, according to the foundation's most recent annual report posted on its website." (Jonathan Allen, "Clinton Foundation Health Project Still Mulling Foreign Donations," Reuters, 8/19/16)

Along With CHAI, The Foundation's Canadian Arm, The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada), or CGEP, Also Plans Not To Disclose Donors. "CHAI files separate tax returns from the Clinton Foundation, but is included in the foundation's audited expenses, annual reports and other promotional literature. Similarly, a Canadian offshoot of the foundation, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada), or CGEP, will not be bound by the foundation's donor limits, but said it will instead become an 'independent entity' if Hillary Clinton becomes president." (Jonathan Allen, "Clinton Foundation Health Project Still Mulling Foreign Donations," Reuters, 8/19/16)

"A Spokesman For Clinton's Campaign Declined To Answer Questions About The Foundation." (Jonathan Allen, "Clinton Foundation Health Project Still Mulling Foreign Donations," Reuters, 8/19/16)


Mook Excused A Longtime Political Patron Of The Clintons Getting Special Access Because "Someone Who Had A Relationship With The Clintons Long Before Hillary Became Secretary Of State" And "Obviously The Clintons Have Staff That Facilitate Those Sorts Of Communications." CNN'S DANA BASH: "A new batch of State Department e-mails were released last week showing Doug band, a counselor to the Clinton Foundation, asking Clinton advisers Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills who were both State Department employees at the time for a quote "favor". He forwarded an e-mail from a Clinton foundation donor and told them at the time it was important to take care of the request. Huma said, we've all had him on our radar, personnel has been sending him options. Is this the kind of back scratching that has Americans turned off and done with people who have been in Washington for a long time?" CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER ROBBIE MOOK: "Well first of all Dana, the emailing question from Doug Band was coming from his private e-mail account, or his e-mail account. It was not related to the foundation. And the foundation at every step - rather, excuse me, the State Department at every step was following all the appropriate protocols. This was someone who had a relationship with the Clintons long before Hillary became secretary of state." BASH: But Robbie, the issue is not so much where the e-mail is coming from. It's the request in general. Who the request is going to, right?" MOOK: "Well, again, this is someone who had a long-standing relationship with the Clintons, who had wanted to provide some insight into a matter. And obviously the Clintons have staff that facilitate those sorts of communications. There was no quid pro quo or anything like that here. As I said, the e-mail originated from President Clinton's private office." (CNN's "State Of The Union," 8/21/16)

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Dem Senator Cardin: Clinton Foundation "Clearly Needs To Change The Way They Do Business." FOX NEWS' SHANNON BREAM: "Let's talk about the fact that the Clinton foundation has been abuzz this week. There's been talk about a potential hack, potentially by Russian interests and there's been a statement by Bill Clinton that the foundation will no longer accept corporate money or foreign money if she's elected president. The Boston Globe said it should be shut down all together, it just creates a view of potential conflict of interest. They said in part, 'The inherent conflict of interest was obvious when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State in 2009. She promised to maintain a separation between her official work and the foundation, but recently released emails written by staffers during her State Department tenure make clear that the supposed partition was far from impregnable.' They go on to say, listen, If the Foundation's donors are truly motivated by altruism, and not by the lure of access to the Clintons, then surely the can find other ways to support the Foundation's goals.' Do you think the foundation should shut down altogether?" SENATOR BEN CARDIN (D-MD): "First, let's recognize what the foundation has been able to do. The Clinton Foundation has been able to help millions of people, over 10 million HIV aids alone saved countless lives. Its work is extremely important to global health. They've done some really great things. Now with Hillary Clinton being elected president, which we hope it will be, they clearly need to change the way they do business. They've indicated they will. They're not going to accept any donations from foreign entities, they're going to change the way that the Clintons themselves interact with the foundation. Those decisions will be made appropriate to Hillary Clinton as president of the United States." (Fox News' " Fox News Sunday," 8/21/16)

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Mook Refused To Confirm That Colin Powell Advised Clinton To Use A Private Email Account, Like She Told The FBI. CBS'S JOHN DICKERSON: "Let me ask you about the report that Hillary Clinton got idea for the private e-mail account while she was secretary of state from Colin Powell, is that right?" ROBBY MOOK: "Well, you're going to have to ask them about what conversations they might have had. and Secretary Powell put out a statement. What we do know is that he did in fact use private e-mail as Secretary of State. It's important to understand that and to understand that Secretary Clinton wasn't the first person to do this." (CBS'S Face The Nation, 8/21/16)

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Mook Refused To Commit To Clinton Submitting Email Lawsuit Qs Before Election. CNN'S DANA BASH: "A federal judge on Friday ordered Hillary Clinton to provide written testimony about her private server. You're going to get the questions by October 14th, and then you're going to have 30 days to answer them. Theoretically, you won't have to answer the questions until after the election. You were talking about transparency and how transparent secretary Clinton has been. Given that, in the name of transparency, will she work to produce those answers and make them public before the election on November 8th?" CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER ROBBIE MOOK: "Well, as you mentioned, the judge has set a deadline whereby the group in question needs to submit those. And when they're received, I know the secretary will get to work right away on answering them. But let's step back and look at the origin of all of this. The right wing and republicans in congress are not satisfied with the answer that the career professionals at the FBI and justice department gave. They said there was no case here. This is another example of a right-wing group trying to keep the questions coming and keep this issue alive. The American people have all the information. The e-mails have been released. They have enough to make a judgment at this point. We at the campaign just want to move on and talk about the issues that people actually care about in this election, like jobs, college affordability and health care." BASH: "That sounds like a no." MOOK: "As I said, as soon as she receives the question, if the judge asks her to answer those questions, she'll get to work right away on getting the questions answered." (CNN's " State Of The Union," 8/21/16)

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