All-Star Panel: Problems for Clinton over foundation donations

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," February 26, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That memorandum of understanding went beyond the baseline ethical guidelines. It put in place some additional requirements that the Clinton Foundation could continue its work and that the secretary of state could do her work without even the appearance of a conflict of interest.  And we are --

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It failed then because a half-a-million dollars came in from a government that is accused of human rights abuses and was lobbying this administration for relief. How do you explain then given these wonderful ethics rules that this mistake was made?

EARNEST: Well, again, for compliance with the memorandum of understanding, I would refer tout state department.

JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: The foundation put out a statement on this. We obviously review any submission that they present to us. They've shown a commitment. Their commitment has been over and above the letter of the law. And that's been consistently followed.


BRET BAIER, HOST: Well, the Clinton Foundation donations from foreign governments, they are already raising eyebrows, people on the left and the right. But now there is one from Algeria, a half-million dollars, given while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. What about this?

We're back with our panel. Ron, you wrote about it. It seems like it's gaining a little steam.

RON FOURNIER, THE NATIONAL JOURNAL: Over a week ago I wrote that this was stupid and sleazy, and I think I under-reached. I have got to come up with better adjectives for how bad this is. That looked like a "Saturday Night Live" skit. That doesn't look like the leaders of our government or even the spokespeople from our government. That was comical how bad off they are there.

What we found out here in this last week in addition to what we knew a week ago where she was taking, the foundation was taking a foreign money from companies that a woman who wants to break the glass ceiling should be.

Now we realize that she was going to countries around the same time that money was coming into the foundation from these countries. Not only were they violating ethics laws, but you have this perception problem where basically now the secretary of state's overseas travels are donor maintenance. She is out practically -- "donor maintenance" is a phrase we use in Washington when you go around patting people on the back with a wink and a nod and then they send a check to you. It's not directly fundraising, but it's kind of fundraising. And it sure is what this looks like to me.

BAIER: I mean, it's clearly giving a lot of fodder, Jason, at CPAC.  Ted Cruz said "We could have Hillary here but we couldn't find a foreign nation to foot the bill." And they are using it as a line. Is this an effort by the Clinton folks to get this out now so it's not a problem later, or is this just really gaining --

JASON RILEY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: It could be a little bit of that. But I don't think this is the way they wanted to get it out. I don't think they planned for it to land this way. But I think fundraising, the Clinton Foundation is less a charity than it is a political organization, a super PAC of sorts that exists in order to help Hillary Clinton politically. That's what's going on here.

Again, we are not talking about donations from Australia and Norway. Just from the country of Kuwait, Algeria, Qatar, the Saudis. And this is coming from the left that complains that money corrupts politics.

BAIER: We should point out on this map, this is the foreign funding while she was secretary of state. There is other foreign funding, governments and individuals, when they struck this memorandum soon after this.

FOURNIER: To answer your question on a little bit of reporting. This is not -- the Clintons did not want this out. They were surprised by this.  Why? Because they really are an ends justify means kind of people. They think what they are doing is so good -- and the foundation does good work -- that how they go about raising money doesn't matter. And they now have people in their own party, there is people very close to the Clintons, senior Democrats who are really freaked out about this and wondering how vulnerable their nominee is going to be.

BAIER: Well, frankly, it is the one nominee that a lot of Democrats are looking at. There isn't really a big bench, at least so far.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: They are putting -- if it were a casino, campaign casino, the $100 is entirely on Hillary right now. And all of this is being exposed. I think the word you are too polite to use, Ron, was "corrupt."

You know, the defense of the foundation is that the money that they got from the Algerians, half a million, was for Haiti. Well, why don't you call up the Haitian embassy and send it directly? This is a pretty indirect way to help Haitians. If you really care about the victims of the earthquake, why do you send it through the Clintons? How stupid do they think we are? The reason it was done through the Clintons is to purchase influence. And that's exactly what's at root here. And it's the history of the Clintons going back 30 years. You give them the money, you get the influence. And if you are a Democrat running on the holier than thou premises of campaign reform and all of that, this is not a good thing.

FOURNIER: They put the Lincoln Bedroom up for sale, and now they are putting the secretary of state office up for sale.

BAIER: We asked for additional statements from the foundation. We have yet to hear back.

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