George Stephanopoulos interviews Peter Schweizer, author of Clinton Cash book

Accountants CPA Hartford Connecticut LLC:  This is a rush transcript for April 26, 2015. It may contain errors.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: And the author of “Clinton Clash,” Peter Schweizer, joins us now.

Thank you for joining us this morning, Peter.

You know, I was looking at the book jacket right here and you say that, here in the book jacket that your reporting raises serious and alarming questions about judgment of possible indebtedness to an array of foreign interests and ultimately, a fitness for high public office.

So how does your reporting show that Hillary Clinton may be unfit for the presidency?

PETER SCHWEIZER, AUTHOR, “CLINTON CLASH”: Well, I think the real question here, George, is when you ever have an issue of the flow of funds to political candidates, whether that’s to their campaigns, whether that’s to private foundations, whether that’s to their spouse, is there evidence of a pattern of — of favorable decisions being made for those individuals?

And I think the — the point that we make in the book is that there is a troubling pattern.

There are dozens of examples of that occurring.

Some people, I think particularly the Clinton camp, would say that these are all coincidence. I don’t think, when you’re talking about 12 instances, you’re talking coincidence. I think you’re talking trend.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you take it pretty far. You write that, “The pattern of behavior is troubling enough to warrant further investigation by law enforcement (INAUDIBLE).”..


STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you have any evidence that a crime may have been committed?

SCHWEIZER: Well, I think it’s — if you look at a couple of recent examples. For example, Governor McConnell down in Virginia, or you look at Senator Menendez, in these cases, you didn’t have evidence of a quid pro quo. What you had was funds flowing to elected officials, some of them gifts, some of them campaign contributions and actions that were being taken by those public officials that seemed to benefit the contributors.

Certainly, I think it warrants investigation. What that investigation will reveal, we’ll see.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But a criminal investigation?

SCHWEIZER: Well, we’ll see. I mean that’s what the Governor McConnell has faced and that’s what Menendez has faced.


SCHWEIZER: And I think the evidence here is far more widespread in terms of repeated action than there were in those two instances.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, the Clinton campaign says you haven’t produced a shred of evidence that there was any official action as secretary that — that supported the interests of donors.


STEPHANOPOULOS: We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action. And an independent government ethics expert, Bill Allison, of the Sunline Foundation (ph), wrote this. He said, “There’s no smoking gun, no evidence that she changed the policy based on donations to the foundation.”

No smoking gun.

Is there a smoking gun?

SCHWEIZER: Yes. The smoking gun is in the pattern of behavior. And here’s the analogy I would give you. It’s a little bit like insider trading. I wrote a book on Congressional insider trading a couple of years ago and talked with prosecutors.

Most people that engage in criminal insider trading don’t send an e-mail that says I’ve got inside information, buy this stock.

The way they look at it, they look at a pattern of stock trades. If the person has access to that information and then they do a series of well-timed trades. That warrants investigation.

I think the same thing applies here.

By the way, what’s important to note is it was confirmed on Thursday, both by “The New York Times” and “The Wall Street Journal,” that there are multi-million dollar, non-disclosed donations that were made to the Clinton Foundation that were never disclosed by the Clintons.

This is a direct breach of an agreement they suggested with the White House.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That — that is an issue for them, but it’s not a criminal — it’s nothing that would warrant a cmii.

So let’s look at some of the specifics behind your pattern.


STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of focus on the sale of a company, Uranium One, to a — to a Russian company. Of course, Frank Drisdra (ph), who had committed, what, a $130 million, a pledge to the Clinton Foundation back in 2006, had had an interest in this company.

But he actually sold it.

SCHWEIZER: Well, he sold his stock, but his firm, Endeavor Financial, continued to do finance deals well after that. And the individuals involved in the book, as you probably read, there are nine — count them, nine major contributors to the Clinton Foundation who were involved in that nuclear deal.

The two individuals who were the financial advisers on the deal of the sale to the Russians, they’re both major Clinton Foundation supporters. The chairman of that Foundation, Ian Telfer, whose donations were not disclosed, campaign — and sorry, Clinton Foundation contributor. And there are others.

So this is not just about Frank Giustra. This is multiple layers (INAUDIBLE)…

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, but you didn’t disclose in your book that he had sold the interest.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Beyond that, this deal was approved by a — a board of the government called the CFIUS Board.


STEPHANOPOULOS: This actually chaired by the secretary of the Treasury…


STEPHANOPOULOS: — not the secretary of State.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Eight other agencies on board, the secretary of State, Homeland Security, Defense, Commerce…


STEPHANOPOULOS: — Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission…


STEPHANOPOULOS: — signed off on it. And even though the State Department was one of nine agencies to sign off on it, there’s no evidence at all that Hillary Clinton got directly involved in this decision.

SCHWEIZER: Well, I think it warrants further investigation. And there’s a couple of things that need to be clarified.

Number one, she was one vote — or the State Department was one vote on CFIUS. But any agency has veto power. So it needs to be unanimous. So they had to support this agreement.

The second thing that I would say is that in the midst of all of this, Hillary Clinton was in charge of the Russian reset. She was in charge of — in — of the A123 nuclear agreements with the Russians. She was the one that was meeting with Lavrov. There were four senior congressmen on national security issues that raised concerns about this issue…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But wait a second. There were nine different agencies…


STEPHANOPOULOS: — who approved it.

Doesn’t that suggest that that was because there was no national security concern, not because of some nefarious influence by Hillary Clinton?

SCHWEIZER: But — but look at the nine individuals that were on the CFIUS committee, the nine agencies represented.

Who was, by far, the most hawkish on CFIUS issues in the past?

Hillary Clinton. She was big on rejecting the Dubai ports deal. She was big on other issues. She sponsored legislation when she was in the Senate to straighten CFIUS.

This was a signature issue for her and this is totally out of character…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the assistant secretary who sat — the assistant secretary of State who sat on the committee said she never intervened on any CFIUS issue at all.

SCHWEIZER: Well, I think that deserves further scrutiny. I would question that.

To argue that (INAUDIBLE)…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But based on what?

Based on what?

SCHWEIZER: Well, I think based on her (INAUDIBLE)…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you have any evidence that she actually intervened in this issue?

SCHWEIZER: No, we don’t have direct evidence. But it warrants further investigation because, again, George, this is part of the broader pattern. You either have to come to the conclusion that these are all coincidences or something else is afoot.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that — that is that — the Clintons do say it’s a coincidence. As they say, you have produced no evidence. And I still haven’t heard any direct evidence and you just said you had no evidence that she intervened here.

But I do want to ask a broader question.

It’s been reported that you — you briefed several Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including the chairman, Bob Corker.

Did you offer any briefings for Democrats?

SCHWEIZER: No, but I’d be glad to give them before the book is released. This was a — a friend that asked me. He thought it would be a good idea to talk to these individuals. This was the committee that confirmed her.

And I was glad to meet with them. They did not get copies of the book. They did not get any material. It was simply a verbal briefing.

And I’d be glad to brief any Democrats before May 5th, when the book comes out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, the Democrats have said this is — this is an indication of your partisan interest. They say…


STEPHANOPOULOS: — you used to work for President — President Bush as a speechwriter. You’re funded by the Koch brothers.

How do you respond to that?

SCHWEIZER: Well, George, what did I do when this book was completed?

I went to the investigative unit at “The New York Times,” the investigative unit here at ABC. I went to the investigative unit at “The Washington Post.” And I shared with them my findings, OK. These are not cupcakes. These are serious researchers and investigators.

And they are confirming what I’ve reported. So people can look at the facts and…

STEPHANOPOULOS: They haven’t come — they haven’t confirmed any evidence of any crime.

SCHWEIZER: Well, but — but it’s not up to an author to prove crime. I mean do you think that when people first started looking at Governor McConnell or they started looking at Menendez, that they immediately had evidence?

You need subpoena power. You need access to records and information. You need access to e-mails.

There’s all sorts of things that you can do. You can’t leave it up to an author to say that an author has to prove a criminal case.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, Bloomberg News is reporting that you’re going to be looking into Jeb Bush’s business dealings, as well.

Is that true?

What have you found?

Where and when will you publish?

SCHWEIZER: We’ve been working on it for about four months. We’ve been looking at land deals. We’ve been looking at an airport deal. We’ve been looking at some financial transactions involving hedge funds based out of the UK.

We have already reached out to several media outlets and we’re going to adopt a similar model that we have here, which is to share that information with investigative journalists at established news outlets, share with them that information.

And I think that people will find it very, very interesting and compelling.

Peter Schweizer, thanks very much.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks for having me, George.

Accountants CPA Hartford Connecticut LLC:  Please be advised that Peter Schweizer advised Sarah Palin on foreign policy, while George Stephanopoulos was communications director for the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign of Bill Clinton, and subsequently became Clinton’s White House Communications Director then Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy.

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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