Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook appeared to grow flustered on Sunday as Fox News host Chris Wallace pressed him on Clinton's solicitation of a $12 million donation from the King of Morocco to the Clinton Foundation.
According to hacked emails of John Podesta released by WikiLeaks, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin wrote to Mook and Podesta early in 2015 that it was Clinton's idea to speak at a Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Morocco in return for the eight-figure sum. Given that Clinton's own State Department called the African nation "corrupt," Abedin acknowledged Clinton knew she'd made a "mess" for herself with her presidential campaign launch coming up.
She ultimately did not attend the conference.
"Why wasn't that classic pay-to-play?" Wallace asked of the solicitation of the money.
Mook said it was not news that the CGI held its meeting in Morocco and that Hillary Clinton wound up not attending. Bill and Chelsea Clinton went, however.
"There's nothing new here, and Donald Trump is trying to attack Secretary Clinton on this because, as you said, he is down in the polls," Mook said.
Wallace read out emails showing Mook communicating to fellow aides his hesitation about Clinton taking such a donation amidst her campaign launch.
Mook appeared to get his wires crossed. He acknowledged the emails showing he was concerned about it as a "scheduling matter" but then said the Russians were behind the hack of Podesta's emails and thus the messages were not reliable.
"These are stolen documents," he said. "Stolen by the Russians, it's now confirmed, from John Podesta. They are being put out for just this purpose, that the Russians and Donald Trump want this campaign to be about something else right now."
Wallace reminded Mook that the Clinton campaign made hay of Donald Trump's "stolen" tax returns when the New York Times reported on them. A 1995 return showed he took a $916 million loss that year and could have avoided paying federal income tax for 18 years. Clinton has sharply criticized Trump for this on the campaign trail.
"You guys didn't object to that. In fact, you jumped all over them," Wallace said.
"Well, we don't know where those tax returns come from," Mook said.
"Well, they were clearly stolen," Wallace said. "Do you think Trump had given them–"
"I don't know. I don't know how they got to the New York Times," Mook said.
"I guess what I'm saying is if we're looking at the fruits of that theft, and I will call it a theft, it's fair to look at the fruits of your theft," Wallace said.
Mook replied it was "disturbing" that intelligence officials had confirmed Russians were behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee and Podesta's emails, but Wallace called him out for dodging his question about Morocco.
"I think we've got to look at what decisions were made," Mook said. "There was a meeting in Morocco. Secretary Clinton decided not to go … Again, this is the discussion the Russians want us to be having. They stole this information. They're selectively leaking. I can't even verify any of the information that you have there."
"I promise you, if these were not true, you'd tell us," Wallace said.
Mook said there wasn't enough time to go delve through all the emails.