Trump Demands, And Gets, A Renewed Investigation Into The Clinton Foundation

To be clear, this is Attorney General Jeff Sessions looking to save his job.

From The New York Times:

F.B.I. agents have renewed questions about the dealings of the Clinton Foundation amid calls from President Trump and top Republicans for the Justice Department to take a fresh look at politically charged accusations of corruption, people familiar with the investigation said on Friday.

They said that agents have interviewed people connected to the foundation about whether any donations were made in exchange for political favors while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. Career prosecutors had shut down the investigation in 2016 for lack of evidence.

During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump branded his rival “Crooked Hillary” and promised to send her to jail if he won. He briefly struck a more magnanimous tone after the election and said he had no interest in pushing for a prosecution.

But as his legal problems have mounted, Mr. Trump has returned to his attacks on his favorite target. With four former aides facing federal charges and the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, investigating him and his campaign, Mr. Trump has openly called for Mrs. Clinton to be investigated and one of her top aides to be imprisoned.

The Clinton Foundation issued this statement:

“Time after time, the Clinton Foundation has been subjected to politically motivated allegations, and time after time these allegations have been proven false. None of this has made us waver in our mission to help people.

“The Clinton Foundation has demonstrably improved the lives of millions of people across America and around the world, while earning top ratings from charity watchdog groups in the process. There are real issues in our society needing attention that the Clinton Foundation works hard to solve every day. So we’re going to stay focused on what really matters.”

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton, offered a more direct assessment:

“Let’s call this what it is: a sham. This is a philanthropy that does life-changing work, which Republicans have tried to turn into a political football. It began with a long-debunked project spearheaded by (former Trump adviser) Steve Bannon during the presidential campaign. It continues with Jeff Sessions doing Trump’s bidding by heeding his calls to meddle with a department that is supposed to function independently.

“The goal is to distract from the indictments, guilty pleas, and accusations of treason from Trump’s own people at the expense of our justice system’s integrity. It’s disgraceful, and should be concerning to all Americans.”

Paul Begala Defends The Clinton Foundation

Whatever you think about politics, Paul Begala is on point here.

No one ever questioned when Bob Dole’s wife ran the Red Cross while he was running for president.

The Clinton Foundation keeps millions of people alive with HIV medications. And the Clintons don’t take a dollar from the charity.

If you are the least bit fuzzy on the issue, please take 3 minutes and watch. Paul merely runs down the facts here.

AP Story On Clinton Foundation Has A Lot Of Spin, Plenty Of Flaws

Hillary Clinton

Reporters from the Associated Press recently released an article that insinuates Hillary Clinton, during her time as Secretary of State, gave an inordinate amount of time in terms of meetings or phone calls, to Clinton Foundation donors.

Donald Trump is calling the entire escapade a “pay for play” scam.

Starting with a lead that “85 of 154 people who met or had phone conversations with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state donated or pledged commitments to her family charity.”

Well, what isn’t explained very well in all that is the figure excludes all meetings with any government employees, American or otherwise. And that’s a huge amount of her meetings/phone calls.

Plus, the AP analysis only covered the first half of Clinton’s time as SOS.

The Clinton campaign is pushing back.

“Well, because they took a small sliver of her tenure as secretary of state, less than half the time, less than a fraction of the meetings, fewer than I think 3 percent, the number they’ve looked at of all the meetings,” chief strategist Joel Benenson told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day.” “This is a woman who met with over 17,000 world leaders, countless other government officials, public officials in the United States. And they’ve looked at 185 meetings and tried to draw a conclusion from that.”

As Matthew Yglesias from Vox explains, “the story is there’s no story.”

Publication bias is the name of a well-known but hard to solve problem in academic research. A paper with a striking new finding is much more likely to be accepted at a top journal than a paper that says, “I investigated an interesting hypothesis, but it turned out to be wrong.” This means that spurious findings — statistical coincidences and such — make it into the published literature, while boring null results don’t. This gives a distorted picture of reality simply because everyone is trying to be interesting.

Similarly, the AP’s basic reporting project here seems like it was worth a shot and probably also fairly time-consuming. But it did not come up with anything. Clinton tried to help a Nobel Prize winner. She went to the Kennedy Center Honors. She had a meeting with the head of the charitable arm of MAC Cosmetics about a State Department charitable initiative.

There’s just nothing here. That’s the story. Braun and Sullivan looked into it, and as best they can tell, she’s clean.

I have to say with all the calls to “shut down the Clinton Foundation,” I have to ask, “why?”

This foundation takes money from rich people to help poor people. Gee, what a terrible idea (read that dripping with sarcasm).

The Clinton Foundation is responsible for things like purchasing HIV drugs for patients in Africa and delivering them so governments there won’t steal it. The Foundation literally keeps people alive.

Or, said another way, many, many people would die if the Foundation were to be shut down immediately. Who would keep those folks meds coming? What would happen to them.

At the end of the day, the story is a secretary of state of the U.S. met with important people – which is basically her job.

Most importantly, while attempting to insinuate a lot of “possible” unethical behavior, the story found none.

No “pay for play,” no favors granted – no nothing.

So move on folks, there’s nothing to see here.

Clinton Foundation Will Not Accept Corporate Or Foreign Donations If Hillary Becomes President

Former President Bill Clinton told Clinton Foundation staffers today that in the event that Hillary Clinton is elected president, the foundation will no longer accept foreign or corporate donations.

From CNBC:

Former President Bill Clinton tells staff members on Thursday that it will also hold its final Clinton Global Initiative meeting in September in New York, regardless of the outcome of the November election.

The former president made the announcement in an afternoon meeting with foundation staff, according to participants who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity ahead of the formal announcement.

Bill Clinton said if Hillary Clinton wins the White House, the family’s foundation would only accept contributions from U.S. citizens and independent charities.

According to the Clinton Foundation website, the organization addresses many issues including: improving global health, increasing opportunity for girls and women, reducing childhood obesity and preventable diseases, creating economic opportunity and growth, and helping communities address the effects of climate change.

George Stephanopoulos Steps Out Of GOP Presidential Debate Over Clinton Foundation Donations

In consideration of donations he made to the Clinton Foundation, George Stephanopoulos has announced he will not moderate the ABC News-sponsored Republican primary debate in February to avoid the impression of bias.

“I want to address some news you may have seen about me. Over the last several years I’ve made substantial donations to dozens of charities, including the Clinton Global Foundation. Those donations were a matter of public record but I should have made additional disclosures on-air hen we covered the Foundation.

“And I now believe that directing personal donations to that foundation was a mistake. Even though I made them strictly support work done to stop the spread of AIDS, help the children, and protect the environment in poor countries, I should’ve gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict.

“I apologize to all of you for failing to do that.”

Over the past three years Stephanopoulos has made 3 $25K donations to support stopping the spread of AIDS.