Bill Clinton: Foundation didn’t do anything ‘knowingly inappropriate’

posted at 9:21 am on May 4, 2015 by Noah Rothman

If there is one thing that America has missed about the Clinton era, it has to be the lawyerly linguistic gymnastics from the former first family aimed at extricating themselves from controversy. The 42nd President of the United States is a masterful rhetorician, but his exculpatory skills might have atrophied in the years he has spent out of office.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Cynthia McFadden, Bill Clinton opened up about the Clinton Foundation and other charities that have come under intense scrutiny since it became clear that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton planned to run for president.

In the interview, McFadden noted that the Foundation violated the terms of an ethical memorandum with the Obama administration that prohibited it from accepting donations from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton served in office. The Foundation acknowledged that was an ethical lapse when it announced it would only accept donations from a handful of Western countries moving forward. Of course, Bill Clinton refused to concede the obvious; that this decision by the Foundation represented an acknowledgment of reputation-staining mistakes on its part.

“It’s an acknowledgment 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,” Clinton insisted unconvincingly.

Clinton claimed that the Foundation never did anything “knowingly inappropriate” and refused to apologize for the charity’s acceptance of donations from suspect foreign governments like Saudi Arabia. “I don’t think that I did anything that was against the interest of the United States,” the president said.

“Do you understand though that the perception itself is a problem?” McFadden asked.

“No,” Clinton replied. “I’m not responsible for anybody else’s perception.”

“No one has ever tried to influence me by helping you,” the former president added while channeling his wife. “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. That just hasn’t happened.”

Clinton later insisted that what he’s most concerned about is a “very concerted effort to bring the foundation down.” Almost like a vast conspiracy of sorts. As for the millions and millions of dollars in income the Clintons have amassed through the Clinton Global Initiative, Bill Clinton said that he gives much of his money to charity, and he has taken little in capital gains. But Clinton insisted he would not stop giving speeches to anyone who would compensate him appropriately. “I gotta pay the bills,” he added.

That line might complicate his wife’s effort to cast herself a crusader against inequality and a champion for the impoverished and disenfranchised.

The many allegations and indications of impropriety raised by Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer and other journalistic outlets were not addressed by Clinton in his NBC interview. His is a boilerplate self-defense that can be applied to any scandal and tailored around the margins to meet specific vindictive requirements. It’s all eerily familiar. The 1990s are well and truly back.

While many Americans surely remember the dot-com boom and the sitcom Friends fondly, few could be looking forward to the return of this pair of deliberately obtuse obfuscators to the Oval Office.


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Comments

It all depends on what the meaning of the word inappropriate is.

/closeitup :)

ConstantineXI on May 4, 2015 at 9:24 AM

This is so sweet, I can’t wait for April 15th next year.

I’m going to refuse to pay the penalty I pay every year and if I’m called on it by the IRS I’ll tell them I didn’t knowingly do anything appropriate, that their perception of my wrongdoing is their problem so please leave me alone now.

Bishop on May 4, 2015 at 9:27 AM

“That woman”.

artist on May 4, 2015 at 9:28 AM

Their last life-line is Jeb, because the country would rather regress to the Clinton years than the Bush ones.

Marcus on May 4, 2015 at 9:28 AM

But Clinton insisted he would not stop giving speeches to anyone who would compensate him appropriately. “I gotta pay the bills,” he added.

Not a helpful quote from Bubba. You ain’t living paycheck to paycheck.

Doughboy on May 4, 2015 at 9:31 AM

These people attended the best schools in the country and they continue to twist the English language into a pretzel in order to accommodate their lies… it’s ridiculous.

#WakeUpAmerica

dpduq on May 4, 2015 at 9:32 AM

The bribes from foreign entities were not received unknowingly. If they had a shred of decency they would return all foreign donations.

Basilsbest on May 4, 2015 at 9:32 AM

…we’re going to come as close as we can during her presidential campaign to following the rules…

You rascal, you.

cbenoistd on May 4, 2015 at 9:35 AM

Huh. Well, there you have it, it was not sex.

Fallon on May 4, 2015 at 9:37 AM

BS

Blake on May 4, 2015 at 9:38 AM

Pure neocon desperation on display. At this point, there has been absolutely zero ironclad evidence provided that is 100% irrefutable and 100% conclusive that arises to the level of a Class 1 Felony, yet you people continue to grasp at smoke.

Frank Lib on May 4, 2015 at 9:39 AM

Naw, it is not a charity if only 10% goes to charity. It’s a tax free income stream for the administrators.

jake49 on May 4, 2015 at 9:40 AM

“we’re going to come as close as we can during her presidential campaign to following the rules“

forest on May 4, 2015 at 9:37 AM

That is a privilege Royalty has, peasant.

Al Sharpton and the rest of the hosts on MSNBC will come as close as they can to following the tax rules too.

ConstantineXI on May 4, 2015 at 9:40 AM

Note the blue media won’t ask tough questions.

AprilApple on May 4, 2015 at 9:41 AM

knowingly inappropriate”.
’nuff said.

Herb on May 4, 2015 at 9:46 AM

yet you people continue to grasp at smoke.

Frank Lib on May 4, 2015 at 9:39 AM

“Nothing to see here..

Now move on and throw more rocks at the police……”

Electrongod on May 4, 2015 at 9:46 AM

But Clinton insisted he would not stop giving speeches to anyone who would compensate him appropriately. “I gotta pay the bills,” he added.

I guess he’s lost his political skills.

GOPRanknFile on May 4, 2015 at 9:47 AM

Nothing “knowingly inappropriate”. . .

The return of the non-denial denial. Translation: “You may be able to prove that what happened was illegal, unethical, and immoral, but you can’t prove that we intended to do it. It just happened, we can’t control what just happens. . .”

Also, entry #17,291 in the log of If A Conservative Said It.

Freelancer on May 4, 2015 at 9:47 AM

They’re both lawyers, surrounded by lawyers and none of them know anything about the law. Good defense.

vityas on May 4, 2015 at 9:48 AM

if I’m called on it by the IRS I’ll tell them I didn’t knowingly do anything appropriate
Bishop on May 4, 2015 at 9:27 AM

That most likely won’t work.

If you’re not a Clinton, or any other Government “employee”, for that matter, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

ibid on May 4, 2015 at 9:50 AM

“We didn’t know nuthin’ ’bout nuthin’.”

BuckeyeSam on May 4, 2015 at 9:51 AM

“You can’t prove nuthin’. I know because Hillary and I destroyed the server.”

BuckeyeSam on May 4, 2015 at 9:52 AM

Foundation didn’t do anything ‘knowingly inappropriate’

Clinton can say that if the knowingly questions what ‘knowingly inappropriate’ means… or ‘is’.

Willys on May 4, 2015 at 9:54 AM

“I’ll only stick the tip of it in”

“I promise not to *** on your dress”

“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. That just hasn’t happened.”

— Bill “Slick Willy” Clinton

HumpBot Salvation on May 4, 2015 at 9:55 AM

So why did you lose your law license for perjury, Bill? William Jefferson Clinton is an admitted liar and has already lied to the nation on national television. So I’m just not going to accept his word on anything.

rbj on May 4, 2015 at 9:55 AM

So why did you lose your law license for perjury, Bill? William Jefferson Clinton is an admitted liar and has already lied to the nation on national television. So I’m just not going to accept his word on anything.

rbj on May 4, 2015 at 9:55 AM

Barry and Mooch don’t have law licenses either. Does Hildabeast still have hers?

What is it with Democrat presidents and first er… “ladies” being unable to stay in good standing with the Bar?

ConstantineXI on May 4, 2015 at 9:58 AM

…about as LAME as it gets…try again…

Pelosi Schmelosi on May 4, 2015 at 10:00 AM

This STINKS to high hell, and Clinton didn’t have a clue that it was improper? What is his opinion of any charitable organization that only donates 10% to charitable causes?
These phonies make me SICK.

Armyspouse on May 4, 2015 at 10:09 AM

Hillary ’16 — “I gotta pay the bills.”

That could be a campaign slogan for the Clintons people both on the right and left could agree on.

jon1979 on May 4, 2015 at 10:09 AM

yet you people continue to grasp at smoke.

Do you see or hear, or do I smash your mirrors?

cbenoistd on May 4, 2015 at 10:14 AM

The grifter never admits to the con. Especially the long con.

phadras on May 4, 2015 at 10:16 AM

there has been absolutely zero ironclad evidence provided that is 100% irrefutable and 100% conclusive

Pure as the driven snow. The Clintons. Got it.

cbenoistd on May 4, 2015 at 10:20 AM

But Clinton insisted he would not stop giving speeches to anyone who would compensate him appropriately. “I gotta pay the bills,” he added.

Aw shucks, when the wife and I are “dead broke” we need to charge $250,000 – $500,000 for a thirty-minute speech. We have to pay for our simple, modest lifestyle.

Asshole. Trying to sound like a working-class Joe.

Hill60 on May 4, 2015 at 10:21 AM

Pure neocon desperation on display. At this point, there has been absolutely zero ironclad evidence provided that is 100% irrefutable and 100% conclusive that arises to the level of a Class 1 Felony, yet you people continue to grasp at smoke.

Frank Lib on May 4, 2015 at 9:39 AM

I was going to say that the 100%s were over-the-top enough that you wouldn’t be able to catch anyone this time, but you may have gotten cbenoistd. Not certain, but reel him in and see if he thrashes.

Athanasius on May 4, 2015 at 10:21 AM

Hey Slick…there are two courts…the Court of Law and The Court of Public Opinion…that lame azzz excuse might fly in one, but it certainly ain’t flyin in the other…nobody believed you when you said you didn’t have sex with “that woman” and nobody believes you now…now go make a speech so you can “pay the bills” ya dirtbag…

Pelosi Schmelosi on May 4, 2015 at 10:22 AM

But Clinton insisted he would not stop giving speeches to anyone who would compensate him appropriately. “I gotta pay the bills,” he added.

Aw shucks, when the wife and I are “dead broke” we need to charge $250,000 – $500,000 for a thirty-minute speech. We have to pay for our simple, modest lifestyle.

@sshole. Trying to sound like a working-class Joe.

Hill60 on May 4, 2015 at 10:22 AM

Yep, you got him. Another trophy for your wall, Frank.

Athanasius on May 4, 2015 at 10:22 AM

Pure neocon desperation on display. At this point, there has been absolutely zero ironclad evidence provided that is 100% irrefutable and 100% conclusive that arises to the level of a Class 1 Felony, yet you people continue to grasp at smoke.

Frank Lib on May 4, 2015 at 9:39 AM

As was your claim when Bill perjured himself…thanks for your consistency…

hillsoftx on May 4, 2015 at 10:23 AM

Bill Clinton: Foundation didn’t do anything ‘knowingly inappropriate’

Depends on definition of ‘is’ is. Bill’s definition of inappropriate is very well different than most peoples

ConservativePartyNow on May 4, 2015 at 10:25 AM

“I did not have sex..with those donors..and now I need to go back to work..for the foundation.”

“Depends on what the meaning of ‘knowingly’ is..”

..after we clamber out from beneath the pile of bravo sierra and festering pig afterbirth that’s been The Pharaoh and his Stevedore wife’s 8 years in office, a new flood of cow diarrhea bears down upon us. And we have not even begun to talk about his wife’s role in Benghazi.

If Rancid Peenis and the Rs cannot beat the bloated beached whale and her crook hubby, then it’s time to hang it up.

The War Planner on May 4, 2015 at 10:26 AM

Clinton, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…” NBC, “Thank you, Mr. President.”

vnvet on May 4, 2015 at 10:26 AM

“I gotta pay the bills,”

Having accumulated $250,000,000 since he was in the white house, it would seem the he is the Bill getting paid.

KW64 on May 4, 2015 at 10:28 AM

You tell ’em Billy! How proud you are that a full 15% of money collected actually goes to charitable programs. The other 85% is “overhead”.

Any other charity operating like that would be called a SCAM!

GarandFan on May 4, 2015 at 10:32 AM

Cmonnnnnnnnnnnnnnn Slick!

Aint no one buying this load of crap

KO (Caca de TORO) FF

Katfish on May 4, 2015 at 10:33 AM

“I did not do anything knowingly inappropriate with that woman!”

BKennedy on May 4, 2015 at 10:35 AM

Right-wing claims that I paid to play with that foundation are baseless. Now that I have factually dealt with all that, I will take no more questions on this old news of the future.

KW64 on May 4, 2015 at 10:40 AM

Judge: You have been convicted of robbing a bank. Any words in your defense before handing down the sentence?

Criminal: I did not do anything knowingly inappropriate.

Judge: Not guilty, conviction dismissed!

albill on May 4, 2015 at 10:41 AM

Knowingly to whom? To the Clintons, or to the American people?

Steve Z on May 4, 2015 at 10:54 AM

you may have gotten cbenoistd. Not certain, but reel him in and see if he thrashes

Just trying to get filleted, bro.

cbenoistd on May 4, 2015 at 10:58 AM

This is so sweet, I can’t wait for April 15th next year.

I’m going to refuse to pay the penalty I pay every year and if I’m called on it by the IRS I’ll tell them I didn’t knowingly do anything appropriate, that their perception of my wrongdoing is their problem so please leave me alone now.

Bishop on May 4, 2015 at 9:27 AM

And see, I have all these destroyed, er………lost records to prove it.

antipc on May 4, 2015 at 11:08 AM

Both of them, crooked to the core!

rjoco1 on May 4, 2015 at 11:10 AM

“I did NOT have sexual relations with that armadillo.” Well, that about covers the truth telling. Bwahahahahhahahahaha!

MadVlad on May 4, 2015 at 11:17 AM

It’s an acknowledgment 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.


I love dissecting a Bill Clinton explanation. He is the master and we are only novices at his feet.

First off, if they did nothing wrong why “come as close as we can … to the rules we followed when she was Secretary”? Why not just follow those same rules?

Second, what were the rules they are trying to follow as closely as possible? Why, they can be summarized as “we’ll make as much money as we can, any way we can and it’s no one’s business what we have to do to get it.”

So “following those rules as closely as possible” is not an explanation of how ethical they will be in the future it’s an explanation of how unethical they will be in the future.

Parse it people, these are the Clintons we are talking about.

Fred 2 on May 4, 2015 at 11:19 AM

The other half of the Clinton Slime Team is the overwhelming front-runner as the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. This is proof of that the American Left has become completely morally degenerate.

They can’t find a better candidate?

SubmarineDoc on May 4, 2015 at 11:27 AM

Clinton’s skills haven’t atrophied so much as the public has begun to learn NOT to take the word of lying Leftists (but I repeat myself).

Bill & Hill: still lying scumbags after all these years. #WHODATHUNKIT!!

Mike from NC on May 4, 2015 at 11:29 AM

It all depends on what the meaning of the word inappropriate is.

ConstantineXI on May 4, 2015 at 9:24 AM

Thread winner with the first post.

SubmarineDoc on May 4, 2015 at 11:30 AM

hillsoftx on May 4, 2015 at 10:23 AM

Got another one, Frank. I underestimate you sometimes.

Athanasius on May 4, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Just trying to get filleted, bro.

cbenoistd on May 4, 2015 at 10:58 AM

LOL!

Athanasius on May 4, 2015 at 11:31 AM

Give that man a cigar.

2Tru2Tru on May 4, 2015 at 11:49 AM

The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor from Canada

Clinton has also gained regular transportation, borrowing Giustra’s plane 26 times for foundation business since 2005, including 13 trips in which the two men traveled together. The numbers on Clinton’s use of the plane, never previously reported, were provided by a spokeswoman for Giustra.

…the Clintons have no moral compass and no ethics…hence they can justify “not doing anything wrong” in their own minds as often as they like…

Pelosi Schmelosi on May 4, 2015 at 11:51 AM

Did you people watch Bill Clinton’s eyes as he tried to explain the unethical behavior of both him and his wife Hillary ? Every time I watch him telling some more bald-faced lies to the American public I watch his eyes. They shift around like a snake. The American people have come to the conclusion that the Clinton’s are a pair of thieves,..who have absolutely no compassion for the people they are stealing from. Avoid these people completely, and keep a tight grip on your bank-accounts !

Bugdust172 on May 4, 2015 at 12:03 PM

Clinton further added “Besides, I wouldn’t know ‘inappropriate’ if it bit me on the ass.”

Catahoula on May 4, 2015 at 12:31 PM

Tiniest of violins keeps playing, and playing.

Schadenfreude on May 4, 2015 at 1:03 PM

Operative word : “knowingly”….Slick Willie rides again.

gentlewaves on May 4, 2015 at 1:51 PM

“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.

Sure, Bill. And you did not have sex with that woman all those women who weren’t your wife.

RebeccaH on May 4, 2015 at 2:25 PM

Aw shucks, when the wife and I are “dead broke” we need to charge $250,000 – $500,000 for a thirty-minute speech. We have to pay for our simple, modest lifestyle.

Asshole. Trying to sound like a working-class Joe.

Hill60 on May 4, 2015 at 10:21 AM

Hey, those hookers don’t work for free!

Ward Cleaver on May 4, 2015 at 2:58 PM

Don’t forget, the Clintons are literally the ones who coined the phrase “innocent bureacratic snafu” when they were caught with the FBI files of their political enemies.

jnelchef on May 4, 2015 at 3:40 PM

Clinton’s “knowingly” response is like answering, “No, I’ve never been convicted” to the question, “Have you ever been arrested?”

Colony14 on May 4, 2015 at 8:49 PM