Former President Bill Clinton claimed his family’s foundation has not done anything “knowingly inappropriate” and does not face a perception problem after having accepted millions from repressive Middle Eastern regimes and other foreign governments and entities while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
In an interview from Africa that aired Monday on NBC, Clinton also told Cynthia McFadden that he will continue to give lucrative paid speeches while his wife runs for president because, “I gotta pay our bills.”
Clinton and his family’s foundation have come under fire and intense scrutiny after mainstream media organizations confirmed the numerous blockbuster revelations from Government Accountability Institute President and Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer‘s new book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.
Schweizer discovered that Clinton’s speaking fees increased dramatically after Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. Clinton charged $500,000 or more for 11 speeches after his wife became Obama’s secretary of state, and ABC News confirmed that “records supported the premise that former President Clinton accepted speaking fees from numerous companies and individuals with interests pending before the State Department.” The New Yorker confirmed that “a Russian investment bank that had ties to the Kremlin” paid Clinton $500,000 for a Moscow speech while Russia’s state-owned Uranium One company was seeking to get approval to acquire U.S. uranium.
These revelations suggest that foreign governments and entities may have believed they could influence U.S. policy by donating millions to the family’s foundation or paying Bill Clinton for speeches. But Clinton insisted there was nothing “sinister” regarding the millions in foreign donations his foundation has received. He said that “there is no doubt in my mind that we have never done anything knowingly inappropriate in terms of taking money to influence any kind of American government policy.”
“That just hasn’t happened,” he insisted before saying that Hillary told him, “No one has ever tried to influence me by helping you.”
Clinton said the foundation’s new policy of not accepting donations from foreign governments except for six western nations was not an acknowledgement that its old policy was a mistake but merely an “acknowledgement that we’re going to come as close as we can during her presidential campaign to following the rules we followed when she became secretary of state.”
Reuters, though, found that Hillary Clinton actually reneged on her agreement with the Obama administration by not disclosing major donations from foreign government and entities while she was secretary of state. Some of those undisclosed donations came from Middle Eastern regimes with atrocious human rights records. When NBC’s McFadden asked if he understood “that the perception itself is a problem,” Clinton replied, “no.”
“I don’t want to get into the weeds here,” he continued. “I’m not responsible for anyone else’s perception.”
Clinton also suggested he could step down as head of the foundation if Hillary Clinton becomes president, telling McFadden that he “might if I were asked to do something in the public interest that I had an obligation to do. Or I might take less of an executive role.”
“But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” he said.