During Wednesday’s State Department press briefing, Associated Press Diplomatic Writer Matt Lee asked State Department Press Office Director Elizabeth Trudeau “am I not speaking English?” During a line of questioning about improper relationships between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department.
Trudeau was asked by NBC News State Department Producer Abigail Williams, [relevant remarks begin around 13:15] “Do you have any response to criticism by some that suggest there was a relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department at the time? There was an email that came out in this recent set that is between the — an executive at the Clinton Foundation and Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills where he is requesting to set up a meeting between a billionaire donor and the US ambassador to Lebanon.”
Trudeau responded that she wasn’t “going to speak to specific emails.” But that “State Department officials are regularly in touch with a wide variety of outside individuals and organizations, including businesses, nonprofits, NGOs, think tanks. You know, the nearly 55,000 pages of former Secretary Clinton’s emails released by the department over the past year give a sense of the wide range of individuals both inside and outside of government that State Department officials are in contact with on a range of subjects.”
Williams followed up, “So you don’t feel like this email — or you don’t feel like there was impropriety in the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department at the time?”
Trudeau answered, “We talk to a wide range of people, at my level, at various levels in the department, NGOs, think tanks, business leaders, experts on a variety of subjects.”
When Lee later got a chance to ask a question, he asked, “Can you at least try to answer Abigail’s question, which was, has the department looked into this and determined that there was no impropriety?
Trudeau told him, “The department is regularly in touch with people across the whole spectrum, Matt.”
Lee pushed back, “That’s not the question. The question is whether or not you’ve looked into this – the building has looked into it and determined that everything was okay, that there was nothing wrong here.
Trudeau responded, “We feel confident in our ability and our past practice of reaching out to a variety of sources and being responsive to requests.”
Lee then said, “I’m sorry, are you – am I not speaking English? Is this — I mean, is it coming across as a foreign — I’m not asking you if — no one is saying it’s not okay or it’s bad for the department to get a broad variety of input from different people. Asking — the question is, whether or not you’ve determined that there was nothing improper here.”
Trudeau stated, “We feel confident that all the rules were followed.”
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