Donald Trump has launched a fresh round of attacks against the Clinton Foundation, labeling it a “big-time criminal enterprise,” but he has donated at least $100,000 to the charitable organization.
Trump and his staff latched onto an Associated Press report out Tuesday that found that over half of the private citizens Clinton met or spoke with as secretary of state had donated to the foundation. The investigation bolstered Republicans’ accusation that Clinton granted State Department access to wealthy donors and friends.
“It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins,” Trump told a crowd in Austin, Texas on Tuesday night.
“It involved numerous violations of the conflict of interest and bribery laws and other serious laws of the United States,” he charged.
Trump this week issued a statement saying the foundation should be “shut down immediately” and also called for a special prosecutor to probe the nonprofit’s work.
The real estate mogul did not always take such a dark view of the nonprofit, however. Shortly before he announced his presidential campaign, reporters noted that “Donald J. Trump” was listed on the foundations website as a donor who had given between $100,000 and $250,000. “Ivanka Trump” was listed as a donor of between $5,001 and $10,000 on the site, which reported donors’ cumulative lifetime giving through 2014.
Asked about his donations on the campaign trail in January 2016, Trump told Fox News that he gave money because the foundation “was helping with Haiti and with lots of other things, and I thought it was going to do some good work.”
He attributed the donation to his need to get along with politicians from both sides of the aisle to carry out his business dealings.
“I was a businessman, and it was my obligation to get along with everybody, including the Clintons, including Democrats and liberals and Republicans and conservatives,” he said. “As a businessman, I had an obligation to do that.”
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement obtained by CNN that the AP’s report on Clinton’s meetings with donors relied on “utterly flawed data.”
The investigation “cherry-picked a limited subset of Secretary’s Clinton’s schedule to give a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths with individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation,” Fallon said, noting that she also took over hundreds of meetings with world leaders and U.S. government officials as secretary of state.