Mook Struggles to Defend Clintons, State Department Over Haitian Rebuilding Contracts

• October 23, 2016 10:56 am


Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook struggled Sunday to defend the Clintons, the Clinton Foundation and the State Department from accusations of favoritism from donors to the Clinton Foundation for contracts for rebuilding Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there.

CNN's Jake Tapper questioned Mook about emails that were released by WikiLeaks and show how donations to the Clinton Foundation influenced decisions made by the Clintons and the Clinton State Department.

"In an email that was hacked by WikiLeaks, and I know that the talking point from the Clinton campaign is this is the Russians trying to infiltrate, but beyond that there is the substance of this email," Tapper said. "We learned that the King of Morocco wanted to contribute $12 million to the Clinton Foundation last year, but he only wanted to do it if he could get a face-to-face meeting with Hillary Clinton. Clinton adviser Huma Abedin wrote that the contribution was a nonstarter if the King did not get a meeting with Hillary Clinton. Now, ultimately Hillary Clinton did not make the trip to Morocco because the campaign had already started."

"But this does raise the kind of concerns that there is a pay-to-play," Tapper continued. "He wanted to meet with Hillary Clinton, $12 million for the Foundation. I mean, doesn't this feed into one of the concerns that voters have about Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation?"

Mook defended this by stating that it was not new information that Hillary Clinton did not attend the Clinton Foundation's conference in Morocco, but Tapper mentioned that both Bill and Chelsea Clinton did attend. Mook went back to the Clinton campaign's talking point that WikiLeaks obtained the emails after they were illegally hacked and said that these controversies surrounding the Clinton Foundation are not "real issues." Tapper called Mook out on this by saying that this is a real issue.

Tapper then questioned Mook about the State Department giving contracts to friends of Bill Clinton for rebuilding Haiti while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.

"This is from a Freedom of Information Act request. When Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and the Haiti relief program was going on and the State Department and the Clinton Foundation were working on that, emails were sent to the State Department in which people who were ‘Friends of Bill,’ ‘FOB’ were highlighted," Tapper said. "Why would they be highlighted if it wasn't because cronies of the Clintons would be given access and contracts to help rebuild Haiti?"

Suddenly, Mook couldn't defend an aspect of Clinton's tenure as secretary of state.

"I can't comment on what might have happened at the State Department and what would have been highlighted or not," Mook said. "But again, the State Department has been clear repeatedly, there was never any special favors. Nobody has put up any evidence that any of this actually happened and the Obama White House and the Department of State put in the highest possible ethical standards and there's never been any evidence of any pay-to-play at all."