In what has become almost a weekly occurrence at his point, ABC’s Jon Karl took White House press secretary Josh Earnest to task Thursday over revelations of non-disclosures by the Clinton Foundation.
This time around, Karl asked Earnest if “out-and-out bribery” is the only problem the Obama administration would have with Hillary Clinton’s time at the State Department. Karl also asked Earnest during Thursday’s W.H. briefing what the “bar” for wrongdoing is in the administration.
Earnest told Karl that the president is “very proud” of Clinton’s works as secretary of state, adding that everyone should wait and see what mistakes the Clinton Foundation finds after tax form mishaps.
JON KARL: Once again, we’re learning that the Clinton Foundation did not disclose foreign donors as they had assured the president — as Secretary Clinton had assured the president she would. So I have to ask you again. Is the president disappointed that Secretary Clinton apparently did not live up to the very promises of transparency that she promised the president that she would?
JOSH EARNEST: Jon, the president continues to be very proud of the exemplary service that Secretary Clinton performed at the State Department.
KARL: Oh, I know he’s proud of her service. But I’m asking, she said she was going to disclose foreign donors to her families charities and she did not time and time again.
EARNEST: Well, I have seen there have been some statements from the Clinton Foundation about their intent to correct some of their previous errors that had been made in previous tax filings and things. But I’m, frankly, not aware of all the details.
KARL: Ok, well I’ll give you just one. The Clinton Health Access Initiative. While she was secretary of state, their contributions from governments, almost all of them foreign governments — this was in this Boston Globe story today, doubled from $26.5 million to $55.9 million while she was secretary of state. Foreign governments doubling the amount money that was going to this Clinton charity. And none of it disclosed.
EARNEST: But also, no evidence to indicate that those contributions had any impact…
KARL: Is that the bar?
EARNEST: ...on any policy decisions that she made?
KARL: [inaudible] You have to prove bribery? Is that the only thing that would be a problem is out-and-out bribery?
EARNEST: The lack of evidence certainly hasn’t prevented others — her political opponents from making those kinds of accusations.
KARL: But is that the bar the president set?
EARNEST: I think the point is that we have seen those accusations flying pretty fast and furious.
KARL: I didn’t ask you about that accusation. I asked about her promise to be transparent with the donors from foreign governments while she was secretary of state. This was a promise she made to the president. It was part of her confirmation process. The senators who voted were reassured by this. Now, looking back and see that that promise were not kept. And I’m asking does the president have any concern about that?
EARNEST: Well, based only on what on the public reports, it’s apparent to me that the Clinton Foundation is going back to remedy the mistakes that they have acknowledged they have made in the past when it comes to reporting.
KARL: Is that enough for the president?
EARNEST: Well, again, we’ll have to see what steps the Clinton Foundation intends to take. But based on what they have said publicly, it sounds like they are serious about correcting those mistakes.