Presidential races

Plouffe: There are ‘legitimate questions’ about the Clinton Foundation

David Plouffe, who served as a senior political adviser to President Obama in his first term, said Sunday there are “legitimate questions” about the Clinton Foundation in light of new reporting that its donors received special access to Hillary Clinton when she served as secretary of State.

{mosads}“I think there’s legitimate questions about the Clinton Foundation. The press is clearly spending a lot of time on that,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

But he argued that the potential conflicts of interest posed by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s business dealings, which have been obscured by his refusal to release his tax returns, are more worrisome than the controversy surrounding Clinton, the Democratic nominee.

“I think if you look at both of these candidates in terms of who can you trust and some of these financial dealings, I don’t think there’s much of a comparison,” he said.

ABC News reported Saturday that newly released State Department emails showed contact between a senior official at the Clinton Foundation, Doug Band, and Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, while Clinton was heading the State Department.

The emails show that Band sought access for the foundation’s top donors to an exclusive State Department lunch with Chinese President Hu Jintao in early 2011. He also tried to place a top donor at the same table as Vice President Biden.

Plouffe said that while questions about special access were legitimate, he said people should look at the broader picture and appreciate that the Clinton Foundation’s mission was primarily charitable.

He said there’s “universal agreement” that the organization “has done remarkable work around the world,” noting that Trump himself contributed $100,000 to it.

He cited its efforts to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and treat malaria, a major killer in underdeveloped nations.

But he said journalists are well within their rights to scrutinize Clinton’s links to the foundation, especially because of the likelihood that she’ll win the presidency in November.

“I think there are legitimate questions, particularly what [it] means if she’s president. I think they’ve begun to answer that by saying [former President] Bill Clinton will step down from the board,” he said.

Plouffe contends that Trump’s “murky world” of business dealings is more of a political and ethical liability.

“His foreign policy is basically centered around a bellicose tax on China. He probably has hundreds of millions of dollars of exposure potentially there,” he said.

Tags Bill Clinton Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Sunday shows

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