Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook appeared on ABC’s This Week and accused Donald Trump of being a Kremlin puppet.
“We now need Donald Trump to explain to us the extent to which the hand of the Kremlin is at the core of his own campaign,” Mook told host George Stephanopoulos. “There are real questions being raised about whether Donald Trump himself is just a puppet for the Kremlin in this race,” Mook continued. Stephanopoulos seemed taken aback by this suggestion. “You’re saying Donald Trump is a puppet for the Kremlin?” Stephanopoulos asked. Mook of course didn’t have any proof that Putin is controlling Trump but suggested there were financial ties which needed to be disclosed.
When the conversation turned to the Clinton Foundation, Mook was suddenly on defense. Stephanopoulos asked why it would be appropriate for the Foundation to stop taking foreign money if Clinton becomes President but not when she was Secretary of State. Mook really didn’t have an answer so he changed the subject. Here’s his answer:
“Well, first of all George, the steps that were taken when Secretary Clinton went to the State Department were unprecedented. It’s important to keep in mind this is a non-profit, philanthropic organization. Ninety percent of the cost of malaria drugs has come down because of the work of the Clinton Foundation. There are over 10 million people around the globe today receiving life-saving HIV and AIDS drug treatments because of the Clinton Foundation. We look at Donald Trump, his bottom line is interconnected to all kinds of financial interests that he refuses to disclose. They actually affect his net worth. So the steps that are being taken if she should become president are unprecedented. We’re happy, uh, we’re happy that that planning is taking place. But I think when we talk about transparency, when we talk about disclosure, Donald Trump needs to release his taxes. He needs to release his financial ties.”
If you read through that word salad you’ll notice what’s missing is an answer to the actual question, i.e. why foreign donations should be shut off now and not before when Clinton was Secretary of State.
Over on CNN, Mook got essentially the same question. “Forty percent of the Foundation’s top donors, those giving more than a million dollars, are foreign. So if it’s not okay to take this money as President, why was it okay to take it as Secretary of State?” host Dana Bash asked. Mook gave the same basic answer about unprecedented steps being taken in 2009 and more unprecedented steps being taken in 2017 if Clinton wins. What he didn’t do is answer the question about why those steps are different.
Clearly Mook has no answer to this question. One reason is that there is no good answer. Both the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation both benefited financially when Clinton became Secretary of State. The fact that we might not see a repeat if she becomes president suggests the previous arrangement was dubious at best.