New Hampshire U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen says recent attacks focused on the Clinton Foundation are a diversionary tactic by Republicans to take attention away from Donald Trump.
The Associated Press reported last week that while Secretary of State, more than half of Hillary Clinton’s private meetings with those from outside government were with people who donated to the foundation.
ABC News also reported about emails released which show donors requesting access to a state lunch.
Speaking to NHPR’s Morning Edition Monday, Shaheen, who endorsed Clinton early in the primary, said she hasn’t seen all of the reporting on the foundation, but says it’s important to examine what happened and “make sure everyone was in compliance with what the ethics guidelines are.”
“But this is not about those emails and those meetings; this is about attempts to undermine Hillary Clinton because the critics don’t have anything positive to say about Donald Trump and what he wants to do in this country,” Shaheen said.
“This is more attacks from Hillary Clinton’s opponents because they can’t talk about the policy that she supports and compare those to the policies that Donald Trump supports because we don’t know what his policies are. He keeps changing them every day,” she added.
Trump and other Republicans have called for a special prosecutor to investigate whether donors to the Clinton Foundation were given preferential treatment during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.
Shaheen says another issue that’s been politicized has been the $400 million cash payment to Iran. Republicans, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte, have argued it essentially a ransom payment after State Department admitted the payment was delayed to maintain leverage in the release of three U.S. prisoners.
“When we’re negotiating serious issues with hostile enemies like Iran, it’s important to be able to leverage all the tools that we have against them,” she said. “This payment to Iran was Iranian money. The United States had it since the money was paid in 1979. There’s been a dispute over that money ever since. That dispute was before an international tribunal and the payment was done partially to settle that dispute.”
Shaheen said those raising the issue now are simply playing politics.
“I appreciate that there are critics, but the fact is most of the criticism came months after this happened, months after it became public,” she said. “I think to make an issue of it here in the August before an election, calling for an investigation eight months after the announcement, doesn’t really pass the smell test.”
During the interview, Shaheen also weighed in on the U.S. taking in Syrian refugees, and said she supports Clinton’s proposal to increase the number of refugees to 65,000.
Shaheen said the nation has a responsibility to open its doors to people who are fleeing conflict, and says there’s already a rigorous vetting process in place.
“I believe it’s very unfortunate that we’re having this debate about immigration in the country right now because immigrants are what has made this country so strong,” she said. “Every one of us in America, if we’re not Native Americans, are immigrants.”