It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Sunday for Peter Schweizer. In the space of a little more than four hours, the author of “Clinton Cash” was chewed up and spit out on two Sunday talk shows. On the second, he was forced to admit he had “no direct evidence” that Hillary Clinton did anything wrong.
Early this morning, Schweizer stopped by “Fox News Sunday.” Conventional wisdom would suggest that this appearance would have essentially been a love-in. Instead, we were treated to a rare–and refreshing–outbreak of actual journalism from the “fair and balanced” network. Raw Story got a clip.
Schweizer mentioned that in October 2010, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States greenlighted a deal that allowed a Russian company with close ties to the Kremlin to buy some American uranium mines. The State Department is one of nine agencies on this committee. He believed it was more than a coincidence that then-Secretary of State Clinton let the deal happen when two financial advisers that brokered the sale were major donors to the Clinton Foundation.
Wallace told Schweizer that there was “no hard evidence–and you don’t cite any in the book” that Clinton had any direct role in approving the deal. Schweizer countered that Clinton had a history of vehemently opposing similar deals when she was in the Senate, such as the Dubai Ports deal. He didn’t think there was any good-faith reason for Clinton not to veto the deal. But Wallace replied that “you don’t have a single piece of evidence” that Clinton was directly involved in the deal.
Schweizer then admitted that as a journalist, he didn’t have access to government records or emails. He just thought it was more than a coincidence that during Clinton’s tenure in the State Department, so many of her donors benefited from government actions soon after making large donations. Um, Peter? I’m a journalist too. I deal a lot in circumstantial evidence. But when you make claims like this, the evidence has got to be compelling.
When George Stephanopoulos directly asked him if he had any evidence of wrongdoing, Schweizer hedged. He only said that the facts in Clinton’s case were very similar to what sent former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell to jail and what currently has Senator Bob Menendez under criminal indictment–money going to public officials around the same time that actions were taken to benefit the donors. He believed that there was “far more widespread” evidence of such transactions on Clinton’s part.
Stephanopoulos replied that ABC had done some digging of its own–and could find “no proof of any direct action.” Moreover, Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation conducted a separate investigation–and found “no smoking gun” that Clinton made any policy decisions based on donations. However, Schweizer claimed that the “pattern of behavior” had no possible innocent explanation. When pressed further, however, Schweizer was forced to concede that “we don’t have direct evidence” of wrongdoing on Clinton’s part. In so doing, he just torpedoed the very basis for his book–that Clinton was engaging in pay for play.
“Clinton Cash” isn’t due to be released until next Tuesday. But after seeing Schweizer get sliced, diced, and julienned on national television–twice–we already know it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.