Brian Fallon: Clinton not a part of Iran cash payment

Clinton spokesman says the former secretary of state has no basis to question the administration's account on the Iran payment


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 3, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

Hillary Clinton is just finishing up a rally right now in Commerce City, Colorado.  Earlier, Clinton visited a Denver company that makes neckties and scarves and launched new attacks on Donald Trump about outsourcing.

Brian Fallon is spokesman for the Clinton team -- he joins us tonight from Clinton campaign headquarters in New York.  Brian -- thanks for being here.

I want to start with that subject of outsourcing.  Hillary Clinton spending a lot of time about that in Colorado, that Donald Trump makes his -- some of his items overseas in China and elsewhere.  Here is a Trump super PAC ad that is airing tonight.  I would like to get you to respond.  


HILLARY CLINTON, D, PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  I don't think you can effectively restrict outsourcing.  There's no way to legislate against reality.  So I think that, you know, the outsourcing will continue.

But I don't think there's any way to legislate against outsourcing.  I think that's just a dead end.  


BAIER:  That's in India.  The person goes on to say thank you for saying that.  It makes a lot of us feel happy.  Is it disingenuous for Secretary Clinton to make this outsourcing pitch?  

BRIAN FALLON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN SPOKESPERSON:  Not at all -- Bret.  What Secretary Clinton was saying there was that while it may be impossible to ban private enterprises in the United States from outsourcing jobs and the manufacturing of goods to foreign countries, she strongly believes that we as a government should not be incentivizing it and creating a perverse incentive to encourage businesses to do just that.

That's why in this campaign she has proposed stripping companies of tax benefit if they engage in outsourcing.  And for Donald Trump who is going around the country trying to portray himself as a champion of the working class when the way he has run his businesses has been rely on outsourcing of the products that carry the Trump name makes him a hypocrite.

So yes, today she was visiting this necktie manufacturer in Colorado, because Donald Trump previously had said that the reason he needs to outsource his clothing lines is because they can't make those products here in America.  That's an outright falsehood as she proved today by visiting this very plant that is manufacturing neckties here in America.  Donald Trump could be making them here in America but he would rather do it more cheaply by employing workers abroad.  That's something that voters deserve to know.

BAIER:  You know, shortly after making that speech in India and talking about outsourcing, something that India obviously is very happy about, India made a donation to the Clinton Foundation, a big donation.  Do you know if the Clinton Foundation is under investigation?  

FALLON:  No.  And Bret -- there's no basis to believe that.  I have no knowledge of that, and there's no evidence to that effect.  That has been a baseless report that's been circulating out there.  The Clinton Foundation does extremely valuable work across the globe when it comes to things like providing drinking water in countries in Africa, preventing juvenile diabetes and encouraging healthy habits here in the United States for school children.

So the foundation continues to be unfairly the subject of many partisan attacks.  But President Clinton and Secretary Clinton are extremely proud of the foundation's work.  

BAIER:  Ok.  Well, the FBI director wouldn't answer the question.  And Peter Switzer who's been following it says that definitively it is being investigated.  So you're saying -- and we know the IRS is investigating -- so you're saying you don't know of any investigation?  

FALLON:  Well, there's a lot there -- Bret.  Let me quickly unpack it all.  
First of all, Peter Switzer has been widely discredited.  The claims that he's made about the Clinton Foundation a year ago were debunked and he himself was forced to admit that he had no evidence of any of the quid pro quo allegations he was making with respect to the foundation.

Secondly, you can't read anything at all into Director Comey's inability to answer that question.  As a former Justice Department spokesperson I can tell you that somebody in Director Comey's position would never answer a question one way or the other if a member of Congress were to ask him in a public setting whether an entity was under investigation.

BAIER:  So --

FALLON:  The fact that he declined to answer that tells you nothing.

BAIER:  Yes.

FALLON:  And lastly, it's not at all known that the IRS is actually investigating the Clinton Foundation.  The Republican members of Congress called for a baseless investigation into the foundation.  They received a form letter back from the IRS.  They leaked that letter and tried to pretend that it was announcing a formal investigation.  That's not at all what the letter --


BAIER:  Ok.  Well, let's follow up on that.  Why do you think former President Clinton's speaking fees from overseas entities jumped dramatically after Mrs. Clinton was appointed secretary of state?  

FALLON:  Bret, the president has given speeches to all kinds of entities, both within the United States and abroad.  All of them went through a rigorous vetting process that was conducted at the State Department during the years that Hillary Clinton was the secretary of state.

If he gave the speech, it was because the people that inspected it and reviewed it and vetted it deemed that there was no conflict whatsoever.  
And all allegations suggesting that there was a conflict are coming from people like Peter Switzer who again has been widely discredited and has had to admit that he didn't have any evidence to prove any quid pro quo.  

BAIER:  You don't think there's any problem there.  I get that.  But when foreign entities pay Secretary Clinton or the former president to speak or they make large contributions to the Clinton Foundation after they speak, do you think that they expect something in return?  

FALLON:  Well, if they do then they're completely foolish for thinking so.  
And again, there's never been any evidence -- shred of evidence to suggest that any actions were ever taken by the State Department because of any speech that was ever given by President Clinton.  


BAIER:  Ok.  So the Clinton Foundation --

FALLON:  And all allegations to the contrary have been discredited.

BAIER:  This last one on this -- the Clinton Foundation signs this memorandum of understanding with Valerie Jarrett in 2008 pledging to disclose all contributions.  Secretary Clinton said as much to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during her confirmation hearings.  Why did the Clinton Foundation fail to live up to that obligation?

FALLON:  I'm not aware of how you can say that they failed to live up to that obligation.  They filed the same forms on an annual basis and disclosed their donors.  In fact, they go above and beyond the legal requirements in disclosing who gives money to the foundation.  And again, all those dollars, all those donations go to performing life-saving work across the globe.

An the foundation, prior to this campaign, was widely praised by Republicans left and right.  You had many Republican officials, Jeb Bush, who was a candidate for president during the primaries, Carly Fiorina, many other top Republicans appearing at the Clinton Foundation events and praising the work of the Clinton Foundation.

It is only now that Hillary Clinton is running for president that the Clinton Foundation has suddenly come under fire with these baseless allegations.  

BAIER:  Ok.  We've been over the e-mail back and forth and I heard Robby Mook talk about it and what Director Comey said and what you all are saying.  I'm not going to go down that road.

But I do want to ask you about the breaking news on this $400 million cash payout to Tehran.  The administration is talking about it one way.  Secretary Clinton obviously supports the Iran deal.  Do you see any change and the campaign -- do you see any change in Iran, how it's acting as a result of this Iran deal?  

FALLON:  Well, first of all, Bret, the day began with a complete falsehood being tweeted out by the Trump campaign.  Donald Trump tried to suggest that Hillary Clinton was involved in this $400 million payment to Iran.  And of course, independent fact checkers verified over the course of today that that happened -- that transaction took place more than a year after she departed her position as secretary of state.  

BAIER:  So she doesn't support that?  

FALLON:  I'm not saying that.  I'm just saying that Donald Trump --

BAIER:  Why would you say that she wasn't part of it?  

FALLON:  Well, during the course of today the administration --

BAIER:  She supported the Iran deal.  

FALLON:  She absolutely did.  And I think that the administration has done

BAIER:  So the Iran deal the administration is saying that's part of this.  

FALLON:  Actually, I think this was negotiated separate from the Iran nuclear agreement -- that's what the White House has explained today.  And in fact this payment was really just the settlement of a claim that dates back to 1979 before the ouster of the Shah of Iran and before the U.S. cut off our ties with Iran.

BAIER:  So she supports it in other words?  

FALLON:  I think that she -- that the White House has fully explained that this was a matter of simply settling an outstanding claim.  And in fact, the $400 million represents a less amount than the Iranians could have sought if this went all the way to The Hague.

BAIER:  I know what the White House said -- Brian.  I'm asking you what you and the secretary think about this delivery of cash.  

FALLON:  Sure.  Again, she was out of office by the time this happened, but we have no basis to question the administration's account.  I think that they fully explained and answered every question that's been asked not just today but in January when this was first --

BAIER:  And finally, my original question was do you see any change in Iran, ballistic missile tests, stopping American hostages after the Iran deal and after getting this payment of cash?  

BAIER:  Look, Bret, the secretary absolutely supported the deal.  She thinks it's in the best security interest of the United States to help prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon.  But she said at the time when she announced her support for the deal that she as president will take a distrust-and-verify approach with respect to the Iranians.

In other words, support for the deal does not at all mean that we are suddenly forming some kind of an alliance with Iran or suddenly trust their motives.  And I agree with your last guest, the congressman, who pointed out that absolutely it is the case that Iran still maintains ties with Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations.  That's why we have to take what Hillary Clinton has called a distrust-and-verify approach.

So no one should mistake support for this deal with any confidence that Iran is not going to seek to do everything it can to continue to support unrest and turmoil in that region.  She's going to take a very skeptical approach to her dealings with Iran notwithstanding her support for the agreement.  

BAIER:  Brian -- as always, we appreciate you coming on.  

FALLON:  Thank -- Bret.

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