Clinton Faces Bad Headlines And More Questions Of Scandal
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Hillary Clinton is going to be called to testify before Congress next month. She is the overwhelming Democratic frontrunner for president, and she is also President Obama's former secretary of state. She's been called to testify before one more investigation of a tragedy.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
A House committee is conducting the latest of the investigations of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate on Benghazi, Libya. That committee announced plans to bring in the former secretary of state. She'll testify right around the time her campaign is expected to intensify.
INSKEEP: At the same time, a new book is generating the kinds of headlines that no presidential candidate wants to see. NPR's Tamara Keith reports.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: "Bill Clinton Cashed In When Hillary Clinton Became Secretary Of State" - that was the headline on an ABC News report about the former president's speaking fees shooting up after his wife joined the Obama administration. In The New York Times, it was "Cash Flowed To Clinton Foundation As Russians Pressed For Control Of Uranium Company." And then there was this on Fox News.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And this today as well - a bombshell rocking the Clinton campaign - brand new details about foreign money flowing into the Clinton foundation.
KEITH: Jo Becker, who co-wrote The New York Times story, appeared on All Things Considered yesterday.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
JO BECKER: She's now saying that they won't take foreign donations if she becomes president. But what the story really underscores is sort of the special challenges when you have a foundation that's raising money from foreign interests that couldn't contribute, by the way, to an American political campaign, but can to these kinds of foundations.
KEITH: The Clinton campaign said it didn't have anyone available to be interviewed for this story, but a spokesman for her campaign published a detailed 5-point rebuttal to The Times article. He writes (reading) the facts in The Times's own reporting undermined the innuendo in the piece.
This story was based in part on the forthcoming book "Clinton Cash." Earlier this week, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta offered a pre-rebuttal to the book on the "Charlie Rose" show.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "CHARLIE ROSE")
JOHN PODESTA: It's a book that's written by a former Bush operative.
KEITH: This is classic political rapid response - question the source, blame the opposition. Podesta calls into question the author's motives and then his conclusions.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "CHARLIE ROSE")
PODESTA: He's cherry-picked information that's been disclosed and woven a bunch of conspiracy theories about it. The facts - there's nothing new about the conspiracy theories. I guess he'll - you know, we'll get to judge when we read the book.
KEITH: For Hillary Clinton, this is hardly a new experience. She and her husband have been at the middle of so many political firestorms over the years, it's hard to keep track. On the "Today" show in 1998, she dismissed the attacks and accusations.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TODAY")
HILLARY CLINTON: The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.
KEITH: As for the Benghazi Committee, Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican who heads it, seems to be trying hard to avoid having his effort portrayed as a partisan witch-hunt. He appeared on Greta Van Susteren's show on Fox News and insisted he wasn't slow-walking the investigation to overlap with the presidential campaign season.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ON THE RECORD WITH GRETA VAN SUSTEREN")
REPRESENTATIVE TREY GOWDY: I want it done before 2016 and to that end we're trying to accelerate it, but I've got to have the documents.
KEITH: In a letter to Clinton's lawyer, Gowdy said he wants the former secretary of state to testify the week of May 18. That hearing will deal with her use of a private email server for public business. Gowdy included 136 likely questions, many of them about the server. Once he's satisfied he has all the documents, Gowdy plans to call a second hearing where the committee can ask Clinton about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. Tamara Keith, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.