The big takeaway for ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in his interview with author Peter Schweizer was that the book Clinton Cash had no “smoking gun” on Hillary Clinton or the Clinton Foundation. ABC News did its own investigation of the allegations in Schweizer’s book, but Stephanopoulos argued that Schweizer didn’t prove a connection between payments and Hillary’s actions as Secretary of State:
A recent report in The New York Times, based on claims made in “Clinton Cash,” raised questions about donations made to the Clinton Foundation that coincided with the approval of aRussian uranium deal during her tenure at the State Department. The undersecretary who worked on the deal, however, has said that Clinton was not involved in the sale.
Schweizer told Stephanopoulos that the evidence comes from the pattern of behavior:
Schweizer said he does not have “direct evidence” that Clinton intervened on the uranium deal, but added that “this is part of the broader pattern” that he said should still be investigated.
“The smoking gun is in the pattern of behavior,” he said, later adding, “You either have to come to the conclusion that these are all coincidences or something else is afoot.”
WALLACE: Well, you have an interesting point that I want to put up on the screen that seems to demonstrate exactly the point you’re making. Between 2001 and 2012, Bill Clinton made 13 speeches, 13, for which he was paid, $500,000 or more. Eleven of those 13 speeches were at least eight years after he left the presidency while his wife was secretary of state. Peter, what do you think that shows?
SCHWEIZER: Well, I think you can only come to one or two conclusions. Either in January of 2009 when Hillary Clinton becomes secretary of state, former President Clinton has become dramatically more eloquent than he ever was. He’s a very eloquent man.
WALLACE: Because his speaking fees went dramatically up.
SCHWEIZER: Dramatically. I mean, for example, in the uranium deal, there’s a $500,000 speech that he’s paid by an investment banking firm that is tied to Putin. He was paid $500,000. He had only given one speech in Russia before that five years earlier, for which he was paid a third of that. So, the question becomes, why did his speaking fees go up and why did it go up with corporations and with individuals and with people connected to foreign governments who had business before the State Department?
WALLACE: What’s your answer?
SCHWEIZER: My answer is that’s extremely troubling. The fact you find it’s a very extensive pattern. There’s not one or two examples. There are 11 instances and I think when you have one or two examples, it’s a coincidence. When you have this many, to me it’s a trend.
Wallace then lays out the series of coincidences that led to the approval of the sale of uranium interests to Russian control:
WALLACE: OK, let’s go through a timeline, and it’s complicated. But a timeline of the uranium deal that you — that Bret mentioned and you reported in the book. 2005, Bill Clinton and Canadian millionaire Frank Giustra fly to Kazakhstan. Giustra lands a big uranium mining deal. Giustra gives the Clinton Foundation $31 million and later pledges $100 million more. 2010, a Russian company wants to buy Uranium One, which has taken over Giustra’s company. The new chairman of Uranium One donates $2 million to Clinton foundation, which fails to report that money. In June of 2010, Bill Clinton gets $500,000 for a speech in Moscow. In October, a U.S. government committee approves the sale of Uranium One to the Russian company. Question, is there a connection between always of those millions of dollars that are going to Clinton personally and to the Clinton Foundation and State Department’s approval of this uranium deal?
SCHWEIZER: I believe there is. It’s not just Frank Giustra. I lay out in the book, there are actually nine, nine major donors to the Clinton Foundation who had written multimillion checks that are tied to this deal. The two financial advisers that arrange for the sale of Uranium One to the Russian government, they’re both major Clinton contributors. The chairman of the company is, some of the key shareholders are.
As far as the need for a “smoking gun,” Schweizer note that none was needed to start a probe of Bob McDonnell in Virginia, and that only subpoena power produced the smoking gun in that case:
WALLACE: And as you say, it warrants further investigation. Do you think the Clintons committed a crime here? Do you think they were guilty of bribery?
SCHWEIZER: I’m not a lawyer. What I would say, though, is if you look at the case of Governor McConnell in Virginia —
SCHWEIZER: McDonnell, yes, McDonnell in Virginia. You look at Senator Menendez in New Jersey, there’s no quid pro quo in those cases. They were simply prosecuted, and I think justifiably so, on the grounds that there was this pattern of gift giving which led to —
WALLACE: — there, though, in the case of McDonnell in Virginia and Menendez, there’s an indication they took direct action themselves.
WALLACE: There’s no indication that Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton took direct action. I mean, it’s a coincidence or some could say it’s more than that, but you don’t have the direct action.
SCHWEIZER: Well, I think they discovered the direct action in those cases once law enforcement began the investigation. And that’s my point.
So yes, there’s no smoking gun that would win a conviction in court — yet. But there’s enough “coincidences” to establish a pattern of behavior, just as there would be for an insider-trading investigation, to warrant an investigation into possible influence peddling at State by the Clintons. There’s certainly enough to discredit Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate.
Watch the whole interview here: