When pressed by This Week’s George Stephanopoulos, Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer admitted that he has no hard evidence to support his allegations.
Transcript via ABC’s This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you have any evidence that a crime may have been committed?
SCHWEIZER: Well, I think it’s — if you look at a couple of recent examples. For example, Governor McConnell down in Virginia, or you look at Senator Menendez, in these cases, you didn’t have evidence of a quid pro quo. What you had was funds flowing to elected officials, some of them gifts, some of them campaign contributions and actions that were being taken by those public officials that seemed to benefit the contributors.
Certainly, I think it warrants investigation. What that investigation will reveal, we’ll see.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But a criminal investigation?
SCHWEIZER: Well, we’ll see. I mean that’s what the Governor McConnell has faced and that’s what Menendez has faced.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But the…
SCHWEIZER: And I think the evidence here is far more widespread in terms of repeated action than there were in those two instances.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, the Clinton campaign says you haven’t produced a shred of evidence that there was any official action as secretary that — that supported the interests of donors.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action. And an independent government ethics expert, Bill Allison, of the Sunline Foundation (ph), wrote this. He said, “There’s no smoking gun, no evidence that she changed the policy based on donations to the foundation.”
No smoking gun.
Is there a smoking gun?
SCHWEIZER: Yes. The smoking gun is in the pattern of behavior. And here’s the analogy I would give you. It’s a little bit like insider trading. I wrote a book on Congressional insider trading a couple of years ago and talked with prosecutors.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you have any evidence that she actually intervened in this issue?
SCHWEIZER: No, we don’t have direct evidence. But it warrants further investigation because, again, George, this is part of the broader pattern. You either have to come to the conclusion that these are all coincidences or something else is afoot.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that — that is that — the Clintons do say it’s a coincidence. As they say, you have produced no evidence. And I still haven’t heard any direct evidence and you just said you had no evidence that she intervened here.
Stephanopoulos asked Schweizer for hard evidence, and the author immediately tried to change the subject. The This Week host kept asking the author for a smoking gun, and all he could provide was a “pattern of behavior.”
It became very clear during this interview that there is no evidence that would merit a criminal investigation. Schweizer could not produce the smoking gun because there is no smoking gun.
Schweizer’s attempts to connect the Clinton Cash allegations and the McDonnell and Menendez cases were flimsy and did not hold up to the gentlest of inspections. In Gov. McDonnell’s case, there was evidence the governor promoted the donor’s company as a result of illegal gifts and loans. Sen. Menendez was charged because federal prosecutors believe that a case can be made that the senator used his position to intervene in Medicaid billing disputes in exchange for campaign contributions.
Schweizer’s argument that the three cases are equal is simply not true. There is no evidence that any donors to The Clinton Foundation received special treatment from former Sec. of State Clinton, which is why the mainstream press is not pushing the Clinton Cash scandal.
One of the main allegations in Schweizer’s congressional insider trading book had to be retracted after his claim that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) committed insider trading was found to be factually incorrect and wrong.
The Washington Post and New York Times harmed their own credibility by attaching themselves to partisan conspiracy theory book that doesn’t measure up to the basic standards of journalism.
The Clinton Cash scandal will live on the ozone of right-wing conspiracy theories and conservative media, but there is no evidence to support these claims. ABC News can’t find it. The New York Times can’t find it. The Washington Post can’t find it.
By the end of the interview, Schweizer sounded like a conspiracy theorist, and it was clear that Clinton Cash is the latest in a long line of empty and time wasting right-wing conspiracies.
Clinton Cash has been crushed by the facts.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association