Bill Clinton sat for an interview with Bloomberg News on Wednesday to talk about, among other things, the controversy surrounding the Clinton Foundation and his wife’s 2016 presidential bid. And, in the course of that conversation, he let loose with this stunner: “Has anybody proved that we did anything objectionable? No.”
This is the latest in a string of statements by the former president that suggest he still doesn’t grasp why the Clinton Foundation questions continue to swirl and, because of that lack of understanding, remains unable to effectively parry them. Let’s go through the problems with Clinton’s answer.
First, there’s little doubt that some of the donations accepted by the Clinton Foundation have been viewed as objectionable by lots and lots of people. To cite one example: Allowing the Qatar Supreme 2022 Committee, organized to lure the World Cup to the nation, to serve as the main sponsor for a 2013 Clinton Global Initiative event. Qatar has been tied to not only allegations of wide-scale bribery of FIFA to acquire the games but is also the subject of widespread humanitarian concerns regarding the number of deaths related to the construction of the soccer stadiums to host the World Cup in 2022.
So, on its face, the claim that no one has come forward to object to certain donations/donors is just not right.
Then there is the fact that Clinton’s answer on the foundation seems to be based on the idea that he and his wife are operating in a legal sphere for the next two years. They’re not. They’re living in the world of politics — and the rules of that world are far different than those of a court of law.
Clinton’s argument boils down to the idea of a burden of proof. As in, if there’s something truly objectionable in what the foundation has done, then someone should prove it. Legally speaking, Clinton’s right. If you think he or the foundation broke some sort of law, then you should need to provide conclusive evidence of when, where, why, what and how.
But of course, what we are mostly talking about when it comes to the Clinton Foundation is the gray area between contributions made by donors and decisions made by the foundation that benefited those people. Proving that sort of quid pro quo in a legal setting is virtually impossible barring a smoking gun — like an e-mail that says: “Mr. X gave $300,000. Let’s fund his project now.”
In politics, however, gray areas can be exploited to great advantage by your political opponents. Raising questions about the timing between donations to the Clinton Foundation and decisions made that lined the pockets of those donors is totally within the bounds of acceptable — and effective — negative messaging. Republicans don’t need to prove that the Clinton Foundation did anything untoward. The burden of proof that there was no wrongdoing lies with the Clinton Foundation.
As context, recall that many who STILL claim Bush/Cheney lied about WMD’s in Iraq so we would go to war and they would enrich themselves in the process have NEVER provided a “smidgen” of actual proof that this was the intent or the effect.
Meanwhile, these same nodding donkeys insist that even though there are multiple instances of “the Clinton Foundation got this donating, then this happened for the donor”, there is absolutely no motivation for suspecting that there has been influence peddling or enrichment off of government connections.
If these same fools were so sure of war-profiteering (based solely on their flawed and partisan evaluation of the morals of Bush/Cheney), they would have already put Hillary in prison for life for the all-but-smoking-gun evidence related to donations/favors. ESPECIALLY since Hillary herself deleted the smoking gun.
“Objectionable’ is a value judgement, not a provable fact or lie.
Anyone can find what the Clinton’s did via the Foundation and Hillary’s power position unseemly or objectionable.
Facts are a different thing altogether.
Facts can be proven true.
All Bill has to do is open his eyes and he’ll see plenty of people who find what his family did via the Foundation objectionable.
He and Hillary (add in Chelsea) believe that, as long as you can’t PROVE they did anything objectionable, you have no right to find what they have done objectionable!
That is patently absurd.