Hillary Clinton is pushing back on a report this week that she took many meetings with Clinton Foundation donors as secretary of state, saying there’s “a lot of smoke” but “no fire.”
“My work as secretary of state was not influenced by any outside forces,” Mrs. Clinton said in a telephone interview with CNN Wednesday evening. “I made policy decisions based on what I thought was right – to keep Americans safe and protect U.S. interests abroad.”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has seized on an Associated Press report this week that said more than half of a set of 154 people from private interests who met or had scheduled calls with Mrs. Clinton while she was at the State Department also gave to the Clinton Foundation or pledged commitments to its international programs.
Mrs. Clinton said the State Department said there’s no evidence of any impropriety and that neither she nor former President Clinton, her husband, have ever drawn a salary from the foundation.
“I know there’s a lot of smoke and there’s no fire. This AP report? Put it in context – it excludes nearly 2,000 meetings I had with world leaders, plus countless other meetings with U.S. government officials when I was secretary of state,” she said. “It looked at a small portion of my time.”
“It drew the conclusion and made the suggestion that my meetings with people like the late, great, Elie Wiesel, or Melinda Gates, or the Nobel Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, were somehow due to connections with the foundation instead of their status as highly respected global leaders,” she said.