Bill Clinton Defends Family Foundation 08/25 06:34
ATLANTA (AP) -- Former President Bill Clinton says he's proud of people who
have donated to the Clinton Foundation and the work the organization has done,
as he waded into a dispute that Republicans are hoping will damage his wife's
"We're trying to do good things," Bill Clinton said Wednesday. "If there's
something wrong with creating jobs and saving lives, I don't know what it is.
The people who gave the money knew exactly what they were doing. I have nothing
to say about it except that I'm really proud. I'm proud of what they've done."
He also defended Hillary Clinton's contact with donors to the foundation
while serving as secretary of state, saying foundation donors like Bangladeshi
economist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus have no trouble reaching
officials around the world.
An Associated Press report Tuesday found more than half of the
non-government officials who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary
of state gave money to the Clinton Foundation.
The meetings between Clinton, now the Democratic presidential nominee, and
foundation donors don't appear to violate legal agreements both Clintons signed
before she joined the State Department in 2009. State Department officials have
said they are unaware of any agency actions influenced by the foundation.
Yet the frequency of the overlaps shows the mixing of access and donations.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has criticized the links between
the foundation and the State Department, accusing the Clintons of establishing
"a business to profit from public office."
On Wednesday evening, Hillary Clinton said the AP had only "looked at a
small portion of my time" as secretary of state and had drawn the conclusion
that her meetings with Nobel laureates --- such as Peace Prize winner Elie
Wiesel --- were connected to the foundation rather than their work as global
"That is absurd," she told CNN. She described the story as "all smoke, no
Bill Clinton said changes at the foundation are needed if Hillary Clinton
becomes president that weren't necessary when she led the State Department. The
foundation won't accept foreign donations, and he will stop personally raising
money for the foundation, he said.
"We'll have to do more than when she was secretary of state, because if you
make a mistake there's always appeal to the White House if you're secretary of
state," Clinton said. "If you're president, you can't."
A statement Clinton issued on Monday said those changes will go into effect
if Hillary Clinton is elected. Bill Clinton said Wednesday that the foundation
has begun looking for partners to take over some of its work in preparation for
that outcome. That type of transition "takes a reasonable amount of time," he
"You have to do it in a way that no one loses their job, no one loses their
income and no one loses their life," he said. "That's all I'm concerned about.
We'll do it as fast as we can."