Ronan Farrow appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America earlier today to discuss his new book, “War on Peace.” Farrow spoke with every living Secretary of State for the book and was asked by host George Stephanopoulos what surprised him most about those interviews. Farrow responded that one of the things that most surprised him was how difficult it was to get some people on the record.
“The honest answer is one of the most surprising beats was how hard it was to get some people on the record,” Farrow said. He continued, “Hillary Clinton had scheduled an interview while I was at the height of the Weinstein reporting and her folks got in touch and said ‘We hear you’re working on a big story’ sounded very concerned and tried to cancel that interview.”
“Over the Weinstein stuff?” Stephanopoulos said.
“Over the Weinstein stuff,” Farrow replied.
Stephanopoulos said he was “surprised at that” and then moved on to a question about the intelligence community. Mediaite reports the interview was canceled but later rescheduled.
It would be interesting to find out what Clinton’s people were thinking when they canceled the interview. Most likely they were concerned that the Farrow interview was a set up for him to unleash a bunch of tough questions about Clinton’s close ties with their long-time donor Harvey Weinstein. They didn’t want her to become part of that story.
The NY Times reported last December that Clinton had been warned about Weinstein by at least two people before the accusations became national news:
If Mr. Weinstein built his wall of invulnerability from many varied bricks, it was covered with a sheen of celebrity. He created stars through his movies, but he also acquired famous friends through his other activities, including in the Democratic politics that dominate Hollywood.
Chief among them were Bill and Hillary Clinton. Over the years, Mr. Weinstein provided them with campaign cash and Hollywood star power, inviting Mrs. Clinton to glittery premieres and offering to send her films. After Mr. Clinton faced impeachment in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he donated $10,000 to Mr. Clinton’s legal defense fund. Mr. Weinstein was a fund-raiser and informal adviser during Mrs. Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, a guest in her hotel suite when she won and a host of an A-list victory party. He was an early backer of both her presidential bids.
Mr. Weinstein’s political activity — he provided consistent support for Mr. Obama as well — boosted his image as a man with friends in high places and close ties to the country’s leading female politician. It is not clear if rumors of his record of sexual misconduct had ever reached them.
But two prominent women said they warned Mrs. Clinton’s team. In 2016, Lena Dunham, the writer and actress, said she was troubled by the producer’s visible presence during Mrs. Clinton’s presidential run, hosting fund-raisers and appearing at campaign events. She had heard stories, both directly and secondhand from other actresses, about disturbing encounters with him, she said. So in March last year, Ms. Dunham, a vocal Clinton supporter, said she warned the campaign.
“I just want you to let you know that Harvey’s a rapist and this is going to come out at some point,” Ms. Dunham said she told Kristina Schake, the campaign’s deputy communications director. She recalled adding, “I think it’s a really bad idea for him to host fund-raisers and be involved because it’s an open secret in Hollywood that he has a problem with sexual assault.”
Earlier, during the 2008 presidential race, Tina Brown, the magazine editor, said she cautioned a member of Mrs. Clinton’s inner circle about him. “I was hearing that Harvey’s sleaziness with women had escalated since I left Talk in 2002 and she was unwise to be so closely associated with him,” Ms. Brown said in an email.
Would Clinton’s top deputies conceal this information from her? Even if they had, wouldn’t she have heard it from someone else at some point? Based on what Farrow said today, it certainly sounds as if her people were trying to protect her from being associated with Weinstein, though it’s not completely clear if this happened before or after the first stories about him broke.
One thing about Hillary, it’s impossible to take her word for anything given her long history of dubious, incomplete, and misleading statements. So any comment she made about this now would be taken as self-serving and unreliable (and rightly so).