In the latest episode of the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl and ABC News political director Rick Klein interviewed Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large and New York Times bestselling author of Clinton Cash Peter Schweizer.
Karl introduced Schweizer as “the guy who has studied the Clinton Foundation and all it’s tentacles about as closely as anybody … and has done very serious journalism.”
Asked if he’s seen anything new, given the near-daily revelations about the Clintons and their corrupt charity, Schweizer said, “I think what the emails show is what I talked about in Clinton Cash, which is that people around the world — oligarchs in Africa, or in South America, or in Russian — were not just throwing money at the Clinton Foundation out of the kindness of their hearts. They were expecting something in return. And that something in return was access, and I think favors.”
“There’s not going to be an email that says, ‘Do this and I’ll give you the money,’ but I do think that the emails indicate that oligarchs went to the Clinton Foundation and they didn’t go through official [State Department] channels because they thought they could get to a higher level more quickly at the State Department to decision makers that matter to them,” Schweizer said.
“What the Clinton Foundation did was create a conduit whereby a foreign entity who cannot donate to a campaign, and get access that way, could donate to the Clinton Foundation,” he added.
A new report from the Schweizer-led watchdog group Government Accountability Institute, the author says, “has the hallmarks” of corruption “where you see a high concentration of the participants in [Skolkovo] being Clinton Foundation donors, both on the Russian and on the U.S. side. Which I think also begs the question of ‘why is there this high level of correlation between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department?’ and I think it is precisely because there was a pay-to-play culture.
Schweizer said if the Clintons had stopped accepting foreign donations and Bill Clinton wouldn’t have taken in such large speaking fees while Hillary was Secretary of State, they “wouldn’t have the same issues arising.”
Schweizer was responding to Bill Clinton’s announcement last week that he will resign from the Clinton Foundation board and stop giving paid speeches if Hillary Clinton wins the White House in November.
“Bill Clinton’s speaking fees skyrocketed after [Hillary] became Secretary of State,” Schweizer said.
Schweizer said, “I’m a little skeptical” about “the safeguards that they’re putting in place now.” He says Hillary Clinton breeched the Memorandum of Understanding she had made with the Obama administration before she became Secretary of State, and has also failed to disclose the identity of more than 1,000 foreign donors.
“Even when they made commitments in 2008, they didn’t live up to them. So I’m a little skeptical that whatever promises they are making right now, that they’re going to honor them. Because they don’t seem to have a great track record.”
After the interview, Klein noted that “The events of the last couple days opened [the Clintons] up to more criticism. Saying that you’re going to have this policy going forward that shuts off these donations if she’s elected president: Why not when she was secretary of state?”
“Why did they continue accepting money from foreign nationals, from foreign governments throughout the time she was secretary of state?” Klein continued. “We’ve seen absolute evidence that there was not an absolute wall between the Clinton State Department.”
“There was only one foundation that was called the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and is still operating right now as she is a candidate for the president of the United States, 75 days out,” Klein said.
“The appearance of a conflict of interest is undeniable at this stage,” Klein said, adding, “We’d ask Hillary Clinton those questions if she had a press conference. There’s a reason she’s staying away.”
Karl added: “If she can get through the campaign, what happens when she gets elected president? I ask this as a White House correspondent. We kind of like press conferences. We see that as being central to our job. We complain a lot that Obama doesn’t do enough of them.”
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson
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