Washington, DC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/18/2016 --BENNETT: Peter Schweizer is the President of the Government Accountability Institute, and Senior Editor at Breitbart News. He is also the author of many books, of which the most interesting to me was Throw Them All Out, which exposed how congressmen routinely traded on insider information, which of course made them rich in the process, and this led to the passage of the STOCK Act. His most recent book is a new version of his bestseller, Clinton Cash, which retells in detail the tale of the Clintons' auctioning of American power to foreign companies, and the Clinton Foundation's donors.
For instance, Judicial Watch, which is a conservative watchdog group, released 29 pages of email from the democratic presidential nominee, including 44 that Judicial Watch says were not previously handed over to the State Department by Clinton. These emails, many of which were heavily redacted, raised questions about the Clinton Foundation's influence on the State Department and its relations during her tenure there. Peter, welcome to Financial Myth Busting.
SCHWEIZER: Thanks so much for having me, Dawn.
BENNETT: So this week new emails were released from Hillary's tenure as secretary of state. These emails show State Department officials discussing helping donors to the Clinton Foundation find jobs within the State Department, interestingly enough. You were the first to really raise the lid on how the Clintons used their foundation for personal dealings. Is what this latest batch of emails reveals actually illegal, or is it just unethical?
SCHWEIZER: That's a good question. I'd caveat it by saying I'm not an attorney, so keep that in mind. But the laws are pretty clear. If you give money to a politician, their family, or their charity, and that's the way the laws describe it, and you expect and receive favorable action in return, that is considered corruption. Now, of course, it all comes down to the question of favorable action. Oftentimes people that are put into the legal crosshairs on these issues, there's a pattern of behavior that exists. That's what got former governor Siegelman down in Alabama, Senator Menendez from New Jersey is facing this as well. I think in the case of the Clintons you do have a widespread pattern that warrants a serious investigation.
BENNETT: CNN just reported this week that the DoJ had pushed back against the FBI's desire to begin a probe to investigate whether their was criminal conflict of interest with the State Department and the Clinton Foundation during Clinton's tenure. Do you know if these are just some of the strings being pulled to ensure the Clinton presidency, in your opinion?
SCHWEIZER: It could very well be. There seems to be conflicting reports on this. It would not surprise me if people in the Department of Justice were trying to shut it down. I will say that based on personal knowledge, earlier this year I was asked by two people at the Bureau to sit down, and we had a very extensive conversation. It's pretty clear to me that they are looking into these matters, whether it constitutes an official investigation, which DoJ is on board with, or whether it's the FBI poking around by itself, I don't know the answer to that.
BENNETT: So would you know why the DoJ would actually push back against the FBI?
SCHWEIZER: Well I think this is the problem. Any time you are investigating, or looking to investigate a political figure it by nature is going to be a political act. Here's the problem, Loretta Lynch serves President Obama, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. There's the first conflict. The second conflict is that Loretta Lynch was a US Attorney in the 1990s, and she was appointed to that position by President Bill Clinton. Then you have that strange meeting on the tarmac in Phoenix at the airport, where Bill Clinton went to talk to her, allegedly just about grandkids and golfing. But this all amounts to a widespread perception that Loretta Lynch can't safely, honestly, and clear-headedly evaluate the case involving the Clintons. I think it just cries out for an independent individual to look into this.
BENNETT: The FBI opted against recommending Hillary to be prosecuted for mishandling classified materials. But the email scandal involves far more than just mishandling classified material, as evidenced by the latest Clinton Foundation revelation. Do you think the FBI looked too narrowly into possible prosecutable crimes here?
SCHWEIZER: I think that's a great question. My view has always been that they set up the email server, that whole system, for a purpose. That purpose was, in large part, to be able to operate this pay to play operation involving the Clinton Foundation and foreign donors. Why else would you set up a private server? You certainly don't do it just because you want to engage in political gossip, and not have people know. I think you have to have an ultimate purpose. I think for the Clinton's it was this pay to play system.
BENNETT: So if Hillary is elected president is the Clinton Foundation still going to exist? Will there still be this vehicle for foreign nations to pretty clearly be able to influence American foreign policy? I mean I just don't see how that's not illegal, I'm not getting that.
SCHWEIZER: Well Bill Clinton has promised that he is changing not a thing. He has said that he is number one, going to continue to raise money from foreign entities, and number two, he's going to continue to give very lucrative speeches to foreign entities. He's not going to change anything. I think oftentimes we can't take them at their word, they lied a lot about the email server. But I think this is something we can probably take their word at. There is no reason for them to change course because they have not been held into account. This Dawn, I think, is an overlooked issue. We're all focused on this campaign, and on the Clintons.
Here's the larger issue, in Washington DC if you give politicians an opportunity to engage in what I call legal graft, which is getting rich in ways that are basically legal, it's going to be imitated. If we don't deal with this by the Clintons, there is no reason why ten years from now we won't have a Secretary of Defense, whether they're a Republican or a Democrat, set up their own foundation, just the like the Clinton Foundation, and put their spouse on the lecture circuit collecting big fees from foreign entities that want to curry favor with the Secretary of Defense. If they're called out on it their defense is going to be look, Bill and Hillary did it, why can't I? There's no real answer to that. This is a watershed moment for money in politics, whether we are going to allow foreign entities to give money to our political leaders in the hopes of influencing them, or whether we're going to put an end to it.
BENNETT: Do you ever see anything, when regarding the Clintons or Hillary, to be the straw that actually breaks the back of the public?
SCHWEIZER: Well I think anybody who's hoping that there's an email that says we'll do this if you give us $50 million, those emails don't exist. The Clintons are far too smart to do that. I don't think it's going to be a single event. I think it's going to take a prosecutor. It could be a prosecutor up in New York. There's indications that the US attorney's office up there has been looking into this. But it is going to take someone with political courage. The evidence against the Clintons on these corruption charges is far more compelling than any of the recent cases involving the former governor of Alabama, the governor of Virginia, Senator Menendez in New Jersey. It's far more compelling. The reason that charges have not been brought, or there has not been a grand jury convened is quite simply political courage. You take on the Clintons, you're taking on the biggest, meanest, nastiest political machine in American politics, and to do that you'd better be ready to go to war.
BENNETT: This week on Fox News you hinted that more emails are coming that highlight how Hillary used the Clinton Foundation to trade favors for various policy changes at the State Department. Can you give us a hint of what to expect?
SCHWEIZER: Well I'll tell you, there are two groups that have for the last three to four years been litigating with the State Department to get access to emails that should be easily granted to them through the Freedom of Information Act. These emails, like the ones that just came out from Judicial Watch, came out because federal judges told the State Department you need to release those. I've seen some of the others that have come out from Citizens United, from Judicial Watch. There is going to be more to follow. I'm not at liberty to say what's in them, simply because it's their information. But trust me, there is more coming out on the foundation, and it points to this pattern of pay to play.
BENNETT: This week Julian Assange, from Wikileaks, seemed to suggest that a DNC staffer who was recently murdered under mysterious circumstances in DC might have been a Wikileaks source for the DNC emails they've been publishing. What do you make of this story? My thought is, if Hillary can get away with obviously mishandling classified materials scot-free, then why would they need to kill somebody?
SCHWEIZER: I don't know what to make of it. Unfortunately I don't know Julian Assange. I don't know when he's saying this if it's hyperbole, if it's an accurate representation, whether this guy actually was a source. Look, what we do know is that there are a lot of deleted emails that, I think, are highly sensitive that the Clintons didn't want anyone to see. I think the likelihood that a number of foreign actors, including Wikileaks, has them is very very high. First of all we know that the server itself had very poor security. Second of all, what was the domain name. The domain name was clintonemail.com. I mean if that's not an invitation to hack I don't know what is.
BENNETT: 'Come and get me.' Yes, that's right.
SCHWEIZER: Yes. So I think it's very likely that you probably have actors in China, Russia, maybe Israel, either government or private that have access to these emails. It would not surprise me in the least that either through Julian Assange in Wikileaks, or some other outfit, that some of those start to appear. The real trouble, and the real concern of course are the ones that don't appear that might be very damning, that if Hillary Clinton is elected allows some foreign entity to have some pull or control over her because they have those emails, and she doesn't want them released.
BENNETT: Let's talk about Donald Trump. He's being accused of softening the Republican Party platform towards Russia, due to his campaign manager Mr. Manafort's business relationship with pro-Russia forces in the Ukraine. Hillary, in particular, has focused much of her fire on Trump's apparent affinity for Putin. But this story reminded me of the tale from your book about how Clinton cleared the way for a Russian purchase of uranium. Can you explain what happened for those who haven't read your book yet?
SCHWEIZER: Sure. Look, I think that when it comes to the Russians they're going to try to play every side they can. It has been reported, and I think people ought to look into it, that some of Trump's real estate partners are people with Russian backgrounds, so that's a legitimate story. But to paint this as somehow the Russians only want to deal with Trump I just think is laughable, because the record doesn't show that. As I showed in the book, Hillary Clinton at the State Department, and her husband Bill, helped the Russian government procure control over 20 percent of US uranium in the United States. They got it through Hillary's State Department approving a controversial deal, and the Clintons got $145 million in Clinton Foundation donations.
My organization the Government Accountability Institute, has also reported that John Podesta, her campaign manager, was involved in 2011 as an executive board member of a very small energy company in Massachusetts that got a billion rubles, about $35 million, from a Russian government fund controlled by Vladimir Putin. So let's quit playing politics about this. My view is the Russians are going to play both sides, all that stuff needs to be aired out. The notion that the Clintons have no financial ties to Russia is just simply not true, it's laughable. I think it all ought to come out involving every candidate, and let the American people decide.
BENNETT: Peter, you most recently authored a report called "From Russia With Money" about a State Department effort to create a Russian Silicon Valley. Surprisingly most of the companies that were able to participate in the initiative also donated to the Clinton Foundation. What exactly happened here?
SCHWEIZER: Imagine that. Yes. So Vladimir Putin, and the presidents of Russian companies wanted to create the Russian version of Silicon Valley, which of course is not like Silicon Valley. This one is government directed, government run, very centralized, and it was going to be, and is, in a place called Skolkovo, which is north of Moscow. The Obama Administration wanting to reset relations with Russia said great, we'll help you with this. We'll get US tech companies involved, they'll get special access to the Russian market, and we'll have all of this technological cooperation, and everything will be fantastic. That was the theory.
The problem is that first you have this layer of cronyism. So of the 28 American companies who get this special access to the Russian market, who invest in Russia, of those 28, 17 are major Clinton Foundation donors. But that's only the Americans. If you look at the Russian side, the guy who is running Skolkovo, the oligarch who is close to Putin named Viktor Vekselberg, he also is a Clinton Foundation donor, as are several of the senior officials in Skolkovo. So that's the first problem with Skolkovo and the Russian reset. But the problem gets worse. This Russian Silicon Valley is allegedly their version of ours, and it's going to lead to all of this civilian technological innovation. The problem is the US Army, and the FBI look into this, and say wait a minute, this is not about civilian technology, this technology is being skimmed and given to the Russian military.
BENNETT: So they're stealing American tech for military applications.
SCHWEIZER: Yes. Exactly. So the army comes out with a study and says there's this thing called a hypersonic cruise missile engine, that's not civilian, that's being built at Skolkovo through this program, and a myriad of other programs. The FBI actually writes letters to the companies involved and says you should know that you are participating in a Russian military effort to enhance their technological capability. So it's a deal that goes awry for a lot of reasons. But I think it, again, illustrates the fact that the Russians are going to play both sides. They're not just going to try to curry favor with one side. This is how they operate, and how they try to advance their interests.
BENNETT: Thank you Peter.
For over a quarter century, Dawn Bennett has been successfully guiding clients through the complexities of wealth management. Her unique vision and insight into market trends makes Bennett a much sought after expert resource with regular appearances on Fox News Channel, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, and MSNBC as well as being featured in Business Week, Fortune, The NY Times, The NY Sun, Washington Business Journal in addition to her highly regarded weekly talk radio program - Financial Mythbusting. Through prudent and thoughtful advice, Dawn Bennett has strived to consistently provide the highest quality of guidance.
About Dawn Bennett
Dawn Bennett is CEO and Founder of Bennett Group Financial Services. She hosts a national radio program called Financial Myth Busting http://www.financialmythbusting.com.
She discusses educational topics and events in the financial news, along with her thoughts on the economy, financial markets, investments, and more with her live guests, who have included rock legend Ted Nugent, as well as Steve Forbes and Grover Norquist. Listeners can call 855-884-DAWN a as well as take podcasts on the road and forums for interaction.
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