Monday on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” former President Bill Clinton defended his wife, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and their family organization the Clinton Foundation, against allegations that donors were given special access to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
When asked if people might have donated in hopes of getting special access, Bill Clinton said, “Well since we had more than 300,000 donors, it wouldn’t be usual if nobody did. But the names I saw in the paper—none of them surprised me and all of them could have gotten their own meeting with Hillary. You know when you have been doing this kind of work for as long as we have, you know the people who are the major players. And also some of them who call my staff—people were doing double duty back then and I had an office of the former president—when it was natural for people who’ve been our political allies and personal friends to call and ask for things.”
“And I trusted the State Department wouldn’t do anything they shouldn’t do, from a meeting to a favor, and so it didn’t surprise me that people would call from time to time,” he continued. “And maybe some of them gave money for that reason but most of them gave it because they liked what we were doing and because they knew me. And after she came on to the foundation for a couple of years they knew her. I mean Melinda Gates didn’t get involved in the No Ceilings project with Hillary because she needed to support her, or me, or the foundation for access. She did it because the Gates Foundation cares about trying to elevate the standing of woman and girls in America and throughout the world, and that’s what they did with No Ceilings.”
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