He did not have sexual relations with that woman either.
Bill Clinton says he has no regrets about taking millions in foreign cash for his foundation — even though the donations have caused a political headache for Hillary Clinton as she tries to follow him into the Oval Office.
In an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Cynthia McFadden, the former president said his charity has never done anything “knowingly inappropriate.”
Under pressure, the foundation recently announced it will only accept contributions from six Western governments going forward, but Clinton says that’s no acknowledgment the old policy — under which Saudi Arabia gave between $10 million and $25 million, for instance — was a mistake.
“Absolutely not,” Clinton told NBC News during his current tour of Africa to visit a wide variety of the foundation’s projects.
“It’s an acknowledgement that we’re going to come as close as we can during her presidential campaign to following the rules we followed when she became secretary of state.”
The 42nd president says he is “proud” of his foundation’s work.
“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,” he said. “That just hasn’t happened.”
But Bill Clinton says he’s not worried about the criticism, brushing it off as “political.” He quoted his wife as telling him: “No one has ever tried to influence me by helping you.”
He claimed there has been a “very concerted effort to bring the foundation down” and said he might even step down as its head if his wife is elected.
One thing he won’t stop doing: giving high-priced speeches, even though he acknowledges being a wealthy man these days, reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars.
“I gotta pay our bills,” he said. “And I also give a lot of it to the foundation every year.”
The fees — $500,000 or more for 11 speeches while his wife was Secretary of State — are justified, he insisted.
“I spend a couple of hours a day just doing the research. People like to hear me speak,” he said.
Throughout the interview, Clinton repeatedly turned to the question of transparency, declaring that his foundation discloses more about the source of its donations than those of other ex-presidents.
Asked about a series of tax forms on which the foundation did not list any contributions under a section for donations from governments — rolling the sum into overall revenue, instead of breaking it out — Clinton said it was an innocent mistake.
“The guy that filled out the forms made an error,” he said. “Now that is a bigger problem, according to the press, than the other people running for president willing to take dark money, secret money, secret from beginning to end.”
The problem, he said, is not that the Clintons don’t have to play by the rules that apply to everyone else — it’s that the family is held to a higher standard.
“People should draw their own conclusions. I’m not in politics,” the former president said. “All I’m saying is the idea that there’s one set of rules for us and another set for everybody else is true.”
Excuse me while I lift my jaw off the floor and duct tape it back in place.
Bill is correct about one thing – other ex-presidents have things differently. But other ex-presidents didn’t have a wife who was holding not one but two of the highest political offices in the country. While Hillary was serving as a US Senator and then Secretary of State, Bill was getting paid half a million dollars a pop by foreign individuals, corporations and countries to give speeches. In at least some cases he was being paid a lot of money by people who had financial or political interests that had been or were going to be affected by Hillary.
“They’re held to a higher standard, but they bring a lot of this on themselves,” Halperin said of the Clintons.
“The Clintons are not held to a higher standard,” Scarborough insisted. “The Clintons are held to the lowest of all standard for some reason.”
Halperin shook his head in dismay and, out of sadness more so than anger, insisted that he disagreed with Scarborough’s woefully ignorant comment. Before he could support that contention, however, the MSNBC host let loose with a deluge of examples of political figures losing their careers and sometimes even their freedom over displays of impropriety far milder than those exhibited by the Clintons.
Scarborough added that virtually any other candidate would elect to suspend their campaigns and surround themselves with attorneys if they were accused of half the abuses of authority in which Hillary Clinton has been implicated.
“But what official acts did they take in exchange for something of value?” Halperin asked.
“Well, that’s why we have investigations,” Scarborough replied.
I really love the idea that you have to prove someone is guilty before you can investigate them. That isn’t the standard. You don’t even need probable cause. All it takes to launch an investigation is “reasonable suspicion” that a crime has been committed.
But that is for law enforcement. The media has launched intensive investigations of other candidates on far less than that – just ask Sarah Palin. Imagine the reaction if she had deleted all those Alaska emails!
At least some members of the news media are poking around on this story. If it were Barack Obama instead of Bill and Hillary then the non-Fox media would have declared that there was nothing to see and told us to move along.