Posted: 7:53 pm Monday, May 4th, 2015
By Jamie Dupree
As Republicans increased their attacks on Hillary Clinton and zeroed in on questions about donations to the Clinton Foundation during her time as Secretary of State, the Clinton campaign prepared Monday night to unveil its own internet effort to defend her record and push back against GOP critics.
“While we will not be consumed by these kinds of attacks, we will also not let them go unchallenged,” read a post from top adviser John Podesta.
— John Podesta (@johnpodesta) May 4, 2015
What the Clinton camp is building is new web offering dubbed, “The Briefing,” designed to both push her campaign message and push back with what Podesta described as “the facts needed to debunk false attacks.”
Podesta’s post did not address any specific donations to the Clinton Foundation, relying on familiar attacks against the author of the book, “Clinton Cash.”
“The book has zero evidence to back up its outlandish claims,” Podesta wrote, as he took aim at the GOP.
“Rather than focus on what truly matters in this campaign, Republicans seem to only want to distort Hillary Clinton’s record,” as he accused the GOP of using “unlimited dark money” combined with Congressional investigations.
10 Things You Should Know About the Book "Clinton Cash" https://t.co/8vAERbfOsi
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) May 5, 2015
Just a few hours before Podesta announced the new website, Clinton’s lawyer told Republicans she would be available to testify later this month at a hearing on the Benghazi attacks and her email habits as Secretary of State.
But lawyer David Kendall said there would be only one Clinton appearance, not the two separate hearings demanded by the GOP.
State Department denies wrongdoing during Clinton tenure
While the two parties dueled over the issue, the State Department on Monday again brushed off any assertion of wrongdoing related to donations to the Clinton Foundation while Clinton was Secretary of State during the Obama Administration.
“We are not aware of any evidence that actions taken by Secretary Clinton were influenced by donation to the Clinton Foundation or speech honoraria to former President Clinton,” said Jeffrey Rathke, the State Department spokesman.
“We are aware of no evidence of undue influence,” Rathke flatly told reporters at a briefing.
The denials came as a political group aligned with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush put out a video attacking Clinton over the donation issue.
That video used footage from Clinton’s confirmation hearing as Secretary of State, where she assured Senators that there would be full disclosure of all donations while she was Secretary of State – as the Foundation has acknowledged, that did not happen in all cases.
Back in 2009, questions were raised at that hearing about how Secretary Clinton would deal with possible conflicts-of-interest between donations to the Clinton Foundation and how some of those groups might be dealt with by the State Department.
While the Clinton campaign mustered their new response plan, there are some Democrats who want the Clintons to do a little more to deal with stories in major newspapers about donations to the Clinton Foundation – and their possible influence.
“It’s not enough to say that the Clinton Foundation hasn’t done anything “knowingly inappropriate,” wrote Jim Manley, a former top aide to Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA).
— Jim Manley (@jamespmanley) May 4, 2015