The Associated Press is dropping a bomb on Hillary Clinton, publishing a story that finds more than half of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s meetings with non-governmental interests were with Clinton Foundation donors.
The Clinton campaign pushed back against the report, while the AP has issued a public statement standing by its work.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon charged that the Associated Press “cherry-picked a limited subset of Secretary Clinton’s schedule to give a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths with individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation.”
“The data does not account for more than half of her tenure as Secretary. And it omits more than 1,700 meetings she took with world leaders, let alone countless others she took with other U.S government officials, while serving as Secretary of State. Just taking the subset of meetings arbitrarily selected by the AP, it is outrageous to misrepresent Secretary Clinton’s basis for meeting with these individuals,” said Fallon.
He went on to argue that some of the Clinton Foundation donors Clinton met with, such as philanthropist Melinda Gates, were people any Secretary of State would meet with, to confront “global challenges.”
The Clinton campaign also “formally requested” that the Associated Press delete a Twitter message advertising its story, which read, “BREAKING; AP Analysis: More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.”
Fallon claimed the AP “considered” complying with this request, but then “officially decided to let it stand.”
Associated Press Vice President and Director of Media Relations Paul Colford issued a statement on Wednesday, defending the report and pointing out that his organization was stonewalled for six years after filing a simple request to see Clinton’s calendar:
The Associated Press’ reporting relied on publicly available data provided by the State Department about Hillary Clinton’s meetings, phone calls and emails, cross-referenced against donor information provided by the Clinton Foundation and its related charities on its websites.
As AP wrote, our reporting was based on Mrs. Clinton’s calendars covering the entirety of her tenure as secretary of state and on more detailed schedules of meetings and phone calls covering roughly half that period. AP first requested Mrs. Clinton’s calendars and schedules in 2010 and again in 2013 but was unsuccessful. AP then sued the State Department in federal court to obtain the schedules it has received so far. AP expects to receive the remaining files before Election Day and will continue to examine them and report on their contents.
AP has been transparent in how it has reported this story. It focused on Mrs. Clinton’s meetings and calls involving people outside government who were not federal employees or foreign diplomats, because meeting with U.S. or foreign government officials would inherently have been part of her job as secretary of state.
We focused on Mrs. Clinton’s meetings and calls involving those people outside her duties as secretary of state whom she chose to include in her busy schedule.
This reporting was done by the same AP investigative team that discovered Mrs. Clinton’s private email server and traced it to her basement in Chappaqua, New York, and whose reporting last week resulted in the resignation of Donald Trump’s top campaign strategist. AP has been examining issues facing the presidential candidates and will continue to do so.
As Breitbart News previously reported, Clinton and her aides made significant efforts to keep her daily schedules concealed from investigators, including aide Huma Abedin’s admission under oath that the schedules were physically destroyed in a “burn bag,” even though they were legally protected federal records.
During the course of its long investigation, the Associated Press also discovered at least 75 meetings with “longtime political donors and loyalists, Clinton Foundation contributors and corporate and other outside interests that were either not recorded or listed with identifying details scrubbed” from Clinton’s calendar.
The AP archly noted in June that Clinton expressed a desire to minimize the “risk of the personal being accessible”… in an email that she “failed to turn over to the government, but was subsequently uncovered elsewhere.”
There is some irony in the fact that this damaging story is emerging at a pivotal moment in the 2016 presidential campaign largely because the State Department successfully delayed responding to a request it should have fulfilled in 2010.