Clinton campaign spokesman Robby Mook on Sunday had a hard time answering questions over damning new email leaks showing a $12 million donation from the King of Morocco to the Clinton Foundation just as Hillary announced her bid for the presidency.
(Go to 3:11 for segment)
Grilled by Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace, Mook blamed scheduling conflicts for emails showing he was upset over the optics of Clinton’s appearance in Morocco. He then went on to blame Putin for the American people learning the new information in the first place.
As pointed out by Fox News, the deal went through even though Clinton’s State Department had previously accused the Moroccan government of corruption.
Here’s a transcript of the exchange:
WALLACE: “I want to take you back to a question I asked Sec. Clinton about the Clinton Foundation during the debate, a question I have to say I don’t think she really answered, here she is.
Plays clip from debate showing Clinton non-answer to: ‘Why isn’t what happened and what went on between you and the Clinton foundation, why isn’t what Mr. Trump calls pay-to-play?’
…this week that Hillary Clinton was involved in trying to get a $12 million donation to the foundation from the King of Morocco. Why wasn’t that classic pay-to-play?”
MOOK: Well first of all it’s not news that the CGI had their meeting in Morocco, everybody knew that, and it’s also not news that Hillary Clinton didn’t go to it. That was in the emails as well. So there’s nothing new there. And Donald Trump is trying to attack Sec. Clinton on this because as you said, he’s down in the polls, he’s struggling, and as Sec. Clinton said we are glad to put her foundation up against his any day.
WALLACE: But Robby, there is some new stuff that because we have gotten emails that indicates what was going on. This was happening in 2015 just as she was about to announce her campaign for president and the emails show, and i’m going to go through some of them, you were not happy at all with the idea of this meeting and her going there at that particular point.
[quoting from Hacked Podesta email from Wikileaks January 2015] January 18 email from Huma Abedin to you: “It will break a lot of China to back out now when we had so many opportunities to do it in the past few months… She created this mess and she knows it.”
Same day you write: “HRC is still considering.”
March 24th, you to John Podesta: “Huma said it was still happening, then said that she’s going to cancel at the last minute but it sounded a little tentative… Just sounded more up in the air than I thought it was.”
You didn’t want this huge contribution from the King of Morocco just as Clinton was announcing for president.
MOOK: Well, I didn’t want anything on her schedule that was going to distract from the campaign and again, the CGI had this meeting scheduled in Morocco…
WALLACE: But it was the big money from a foreign person to the foundation at the time she’s running for president.
MOOK: [Stutters, stammers] I… if this was… As you can see in those emails this was a scheduling matter, and we didn’t want her going overseas – I didn’t want her going overseas, uh, before the campaign was kicking off.
Um, but again, this is, these are stolen documents stolen by the Russians, it’s now confirmed, from John Podesta. They are being put out for exactly this purpose. The Russians and Donald Trump want this campaign to be about something else right now.
WALLACE: Well, let me just speak to that, though because you know the Trump tax returns were stolen as well when they were mailed to the New York Times. You guys didn’t object to that, in fact you jumped all over it.
MOOK: Well we don’t know where those tax returns come from.
WALLACE: Well, they weren’t… it was clearly stolen.
MOOK: We don’t know and you’d have to work [unintelligible] on that.
WALLACE: Well do you think Trump had given them?
MOOK: I don’t know, I don’t know how they got to the New York Times, but…
WALLACE: I guess what I’m saying is if that, if we’re looking at the fruits of that theft, and I will call it a “theft,” well it’s fair to look at the fruits of your theft.
MOOK: I think what’s particularly disturbing in this situation is that the intelligence community has now confirmed that John Podesta’s emails and the DNC emails were stolen by the Russians…
WALLACE: I know about the Russian connection. I’m talking about the $12 million from the King of Morocco and the fact that this continues to sort of show the line between private and public and Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.
I think we gotta look at what decisions were made. There was a meeting in Morocco. Sec. Clinton decided not to go, focus on her campaign here. And again, we’re having this discussion because the Russians want us to.
WALLACE: But then Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton went. Correct?
MOOK: Uh, my understanding is that they did go. Um, but she did not. And again this is the discussion the Russians want us to be having. They stole this information, they’re selectively leaking. I can’t even verify any of the information that you have there. We simply don’t have enough time as a campaign to…
WALLACE: I promise you, if these were not true, you’d tell us.
MOOK: And we are trying to go through some of them as we can, but we don’t have time to go through them all. And again this is a distraction put in place by the Russian government at the suggestion and encouragement of Donald Trump. That should be a chilling fact for every single American.