On Wednesday’s CNN Newsroom, host Carol Costello sided with liberal CNN contributor Sally Kohn in rejecting outright the idea that the Clinton Foundation could be corrupt. During a discussion on the charges brought against Trump University and each candidate’s contributions to veterans, Trump supporter Gina Loudon asserted that the Clinton Foundation keeps the majority of its donations instead of giving it out to vets. Costello and Kohn scoffed at the criticism, while Costello acted as if she had never even heard that the foundation faced ethical controversies.
The segment began with Trump supporter Gina Loudon firing back at Kohn’s criticism of Trump University, saying that the Democrat candidate faced charges of corruption with her own organization.
GINA LOUDON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think that first of all it's interesting that we're looking at this on the heels of him giving more than $5 million to veterans just yesterday with his organization and you hold his organization up to for example, the Clinton foundation that keeps upward of 80% of the money raised. They are not doling it out. I'm looking for Hillary's donations to veterans and I'm not seeing that. You use words like dangerous with regard to Mr. Trump, I don't know, to me dangerous are the things that the Clinton administration has done, the long history of what they've done to women and Hillary's cover-up of that, and lack of defense of women in the face of things that were done and perpetuated by her husband, not just the extra marital affairs but the abuses.
Host Carol Costello jumped in here to defend Clinton, “Hillary Clinton did articulate what she's done for veterans and we're pulling that sound now.” She turned to CNN contributor and Daily Beast columnist Sally Kohn to get her take.Kohn began by flatly rejecting Loudon’s claim, calling them “wholly incorrect.”
SALLY KOHN: As far as I know, the numbers that Gina gave are wholly incorrect and Clinton foundation, hold them up to scrutiny, do that.
Later, Costello fact-checked Loudon on her numbers about the Clinton Foundation, asking “Where did you get that number?” After Loudon said it was public record, Costello shut down Loudon with disbelief and mockery:
COSTELLO: I'm going to stop you both right there and I'm going to bring in Phil Mattingly because I don't know where you're getting your figures so it kind of makes me uncomfortable, I don't know where you get that 80% thing, I don't get my information by googling.
But the claims Loudon made about the Clinton Foundation being investigated for corruption aren’t new or secret. This year, Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel, who had previously uncovered corruption in General Electric, called the Foundation “a charity fraud.”
In 2015 the Clinton Foundation asserted that “88%” of it’s expenditures went to “life-saving work.” But tax records easily proved this statement false. As the Federalist noted, in 2013, only 10% of the foundation’s donations went to charitable grants. Furthermore, an AP report from last year showed that millions of dollars of donations went to foreign governments instead of veterans and charities here at home.
This isn’t the first time the “Clinton News Network” has stuck its head in the sand when it comes to analyzing Hillary Clinton’s role in the Clinton family’s scandals. Just last week, Don Lemon, acted surprised by the allegations that Hillary intimidated women who said they were sexually assaulted by her husband-allegations that have been corroborated and circulated around the Clintons for decades. Similarly, Brooke Baldwin grew visibly frustrated and shushed a guest for bringing up Bill Clinton’s sexual assaults, saying, “We’re not airing” Clinton’s “dirty laundry here.”
See the full transcript below:
CAROL COSTELLO: So Gina, what do you make of these documents, you're a Trump supporter?
GINA LOUDON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think that first of all it's interesting that we're looking at this on the heels of him giving more than $5 million to veterans just yesterday with his organization and you hold his organization up to for example, the Clinton foundation that keeps upward of 80% of the money raised. They are not doling it out. I'm looking for Hillary's donations to veterans and I'm not seeing that. You use words like dangerous with regard to Mr. Trump, I don't know, to me dangerous are the things that the Clinton administration has done, the long history of what they've done to women and Hillary's cover-up of that, and lack of defense of women in the face of things that were done and perpetuated by her husband, not just the extra marital affairs but the abuses. Those are the sorts of things I see as a voter that perhaps people are looking at and saying I don't know, that looks more dangerous than somebody who had a -- something they were selling like any university does and they sold it. I don't see how -- I mean, of course there were going to be people that were disgruntled but I don't think that necessarily translates to somehow dangerous.
COSTELLO: Hillary Clinton did articulate what she's done for veterans and we're pulling that sound now. She said that on Jake tapper's show. We don't have it yet but we're going to get it. She said Trump needed to be shamed into honoring his commitments to the veterans and that's really why he ponied up all of that money. I'm just giving you the other side. Sally, how would you respond to it? Is the media looking closely enough at the Clinton foundation?
SALLY KOHN: As far as I know, the numbers that Gina gave are wholly incorrect and Clinton foundation, hold them up to scrutiny, do that. You don't respond defensively to legitimate critique. The Clinton foundation does fantastic work in the world, should be scrutinized by the media, has been by the way scrutinized by the media. But again, to say that oh, Hillary Clinton in private conversations saying nasty things about her husband's mistresses is any way shape or form analogous to Donald Trump saying he would like to bankrupt this country, he wants Japan to get nuclear weapons, he wants to talk to Kim Jong-un. Just his extreme level of lack of knowledge, let alone some of the things he's planned to do that he wants to ban, 30% of the world from participating in our economy. 30% of the world. Ban them, outright. That he wants to attack judges who try to hold him accountable. Think of that as president, this is how I'm going to behave as president, more of the same. That level of irresponsibility and recklessness, it's unprecedented. Say whatever the heck you want to say about anyone else, that's indefensible.
COSTELLO: Gina, I have the Hillary sound right now and I'm going to play it and you can comment on the other side. Here's Hillary Clinton telling Jake tapper what she has done for veterans, let's listen.
CLINTON: I of course have given money to veterans charities and John McCain and I actually helped raise funding for the intrepid fallen heroes fund at brook army medical center to build a rehabilitation facility for
veterans to get the very best world class rehabilitation services. I've also worked starting as first lady to deal with some of the problems that veterans had, whether it was Agent Orange or whether it was a mysterious illnesses they were bringing back from the Gulf War. I worked as a senate on the Armed Services Committee, for example, increasing death benefits for families of the fallen from $12,000 to $100,000. And I worked with Senator Lindsey Graham to expand health care to National Guard and reserve members. Much of the work I've done has meant tens and millions of dollars of increased benefits to veterans and their families as well as personal commitment.
COSTELLO: And just to make clear. The Clinton family foundation donated $105,000 to veterans related charity organizations.
COSTELLO: Gina, your comments after that.
LOUDON: Yeah, It doesn't change the fact that the Clinton foundation hangs on to more than 80% of the money that is raised --
COSTELLO: Where are you getting that figure?
LOUDON: It's out there. It's everywhere, you can Google it yourself. But here's the thing too. You look at how the Clinton foundation has raised its money. Hillary Clinton herself says that her family was dead broke when they came out of the white house, not all that long ago. Within six years of being secretary of state, Hillary Clinton somehow has gone to being a multi-multi-millionaire, more than $100 million made in speeches, sometimes to foreign governments that are enemies of the United States. This kind of thing -- the questions need to be asked. She still has refused to release the transcripts of her speeches made on Wall Street. For again, more millions of dollars. This is someone claiming to represent the little guy, claiming to represent women and yet the track record is just not there.
KOHN: What point does this not become okay? At what point -- you can't do that. This is a democracy. This is a civil society. We actually care about facts and information and at what point in this crazy mess of an election does it become unacceptable to address real serious substantive concerns with your candidate by continuing to deflect and attack? At a certain point we have to just -- we have to call that. We have to say that's not okay. So I'm sorry, we're talking about your candidate who wants to be president of this country making $40 million, not by giving speeches or whatever, scrutinize that if you will, but we're talking about --
LOUDON: You're talking about allegations here that are wholly unproven --
KOHN: They are allegations by this former employees that he swindled him --
COSTELLO: I'm going to stop you both right there and I'm going to bring in Phil Mattingly because I don't know where you're getting your figures so it kind of makes me uncomfortable, I don't know where you get that 80% thing, I don't get my information by googling. So I wish I could answer your question factually but I just don't have the information right now. So I'm going to go to my neutral party, here Phil Mattingly and we're going to talk about, you know, this is clearly going to be an issue for both candidates going forward. How will this play going forward?
UPDATE: Later in the program, Costello felt the need to “fact-check” Loudon’s claims about the Clinton Foundation...by citing two liberal sources, Politifact and FactCheck.org.
COSTELLO: That 80 percent number has been floated by many conservatives, but they may be referring only to the amount donated by the Clinton Foundation to outside charities The bulk of the Clinton Foundation’s charitable work is actually performed in house. And last year, one independent watchdog did an analysis of the foundation’s funding and found that 89 percent of its funding went to charity, earning it an A-rating.