Bill Clinton on ‘Clinton Cash’: ‘It won’t fly’
Bill Clinton speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative Middle East and Africa meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, on Wednesday. (Photo: Abdeljalil Bounhar/AP)
Former President Bill Clinton continued his defense of the Clinton Foundation on Wednesday, dismissing suggestions made by the author of “Clinton Cash,” Peter Schweizer, that donations taken from foreign governments during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state influenced U.S. policy.
“There’s just no evidence,” the former president said in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “Even the guy that wrote the book apparently had to admit under questioning that, ‘We didn’t have a shred of evidence for this, we just sort of thought we would throw it out there and see if it flies.’ And it won’t fly.”
In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos last month, Schweizer said he had “no direct evidence” to support his claims, arguing that “the smoking gun is in the pattern of behavior.”
Last weekend, Bill Clinton said such a “perception” does not amount to impropriety.
“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,” Bill Clinton told NBC News from Nairobi in his first interview since Hillary Clinton announced her 2016 campaign. “I don’t think I did anything that was against the interests of the United States. I don’t want to get into the weeds here. I’m not responsible for anybody else’s perception. I asked Hillary about this, and she said, ‘No one has ever tried to influence me by helping you.’”
On Wednesday, he offered a similar defense.
“We had a policy when she was secretary of state that we would only continue accepting money from people that were already giving us money,” he said. “And I’ve tried to recreate that policy as nearly as I can now during the campaign.”
Late last month, the Clinton Foundation admitted it had made some “mistakes” in its tax forms and was “acting quickly to remedy them.”
“That was just an accident,” Bill Clinton told Amanpour. “People refile their taxes all the time.
“I still believe in transparency, and I trust the American people,” he added. “And I think it’ll be fine.”
When Hillary ran in 2008, Bill Clinton was criticized as “a frustrated and unpredictable presence,” the New York Times noted in March, “operating on his own, calling up some of his wife’s aides to second-guess strategy and shifting the news media’s focus from her to him with stray remarks, such as when he set off African-American anger by diminishing Barack Obama’s success in South Carolina.”
When asked how he’ll campaign for Hillary this time around, the former president joked Wednesday that he has recently lost some of his political reflexes.
“My granddaughter has made me almost totally ineffective in politics,” he said. “To be effective, you have to be mad.”