The Hillary Clinton campaign suggested Sunday that the resignation of Donald Trump’s campaign chairman doesn’t end Trump's possible connections to Russian money and Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom it implies is using Trump as a “puppet” in the White House race.
“We need Donald Trump to explain to us the extent to which the hand of the Kremlin is at the core of his campaign," Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook said on “ABC’s “This Week.”
Mook’s appearances on ABC and CBS’ “Face the Nation,” and the attacks on Trump come amid renewed questions about the potential influence of foreign money on the Clinton Foundation.
Newly released documents show the State Department considered buying a property for a U.S. embassy in Lagos from a foreign company with ties to a wealthy foundation donor shortly after Clinton resigned as secretary of state in 2013.
Last week, Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort resigned amid more reports about his financial ties to Russian-backed Ukraine politicians, included ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, whom Putin supported.
However, Mook pointed to Trump’s apparent political admiration for Putin as well as the Trump campaign’s apparently successful attempt to soften Washington Republicans’ desire to arm Ukraine’s pro-Western government against Russian intrusion.
“There are real questions being raised about whether Donald Trump himself is just a puppet for the Kremlin in this race,” Mook said. “We need Donald Trump to disclose all of his financial ties and whether his advisers are having meetings with the Kremlin."
Mook pressed similar points on CBS, saying Trump has ties to China money, while again trying to deflect questions about the foundation’s alleged “pay-to-play” operation.
He said the questions and speculation about the foundation -- which includes allegations of an ongoing federal investigation -- are “right-wing attacks” designed to undermine its charitable work and to defeat Clinton, whom most polls show leading GOP rival Trump by double digits.
Mook said a call by Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, made to the State Department on behalf of foundation donor was in fact made through the former president’s personal office, not the foundation.
He also tried to direct the conversation back to Trump’s ties to foreign money, including the Bank of China being an co-lender on a New York City office building purportedly co-owned by Trump and carrying a $950 million debt.
Mook argued such a deal would impact Trump’s promises, if elected, to end China “ripping off” the U.S. in trade pacts.
He also acknowledged that the Clinton Foundation will indeed stop accepting foreign donations if his candidate is elected president.