While grilling Donald Trump during Friday’s Good Morning America on whether he would release his tax returns, co-host George Stephanopoulos laughably held up his former boss Hillary Clinton as a model of transparency: “...you said you would release your tax returns when Secretary Clinton released her e-mails. She has turned over all the e-mails in her possession.”
Trump countered: “She didn’t turn over all, there's plenty missing. I read yesterday where there are a lot of e-mails missing. Don’t – I know she’s a good friends of yours and I know you worked for them and you didn’t reveal it. But you know, she did not turn over her e-mails. There are a lot of e-mails missing.”
Stephanopoulos rushed to the defense of the Democratic frontrunner: “There were e-mails from her staffers missing, she turned over the e-mails she has.”
Trump balked: “There are e-mails missing all over the place. The whole thing is a scam. There are e-mails missing all over the place.”
Stephanopoulos seemed to forget that the former Secretary of State told investigators and the public that she and her staff had sorted through her private e-mail server and deleted any communications that they deemed “personal.”
Earlier in the interview, the Clinton operative turned morning show host touted how the Republican candidate was “under new pressure from the Clinton campaign” to release his returns. Trump pointed out: “I sort of have to laugh when Clinton says it, Mrs. Clinton said that I should give my tax returns. What about all the missing e-mails that she’s got? When is she going to give the missing e-mails or her Goldman Sachs speeches? When is she going to give that? Very, very great hypocrite.”
While Stephanopoulos was busy covering for the e-mail scandal, he completely censored new developments in the scandal swirling around the Clinton Foundation. Both NBC’s Today and CBS This Morning managed brief coverage of The Wall Street Journal uncovering the supposed charitable foundation handing over $2 million to the power company of a longtime Clinton friend.
On Today, Peter Alexander reported:
And also this morning, The Wall Street Journal is just now reporting that former President Bill Clinton's foundation dolled out $2 million to a power company that's partly owned by a wealthy divorcee, a woman by the name of Julie Tauber McMahon. About whom, the Journal says questions have been raised whether she’s a frequent visitor to the Clinton's home. The paper says McMahon has denied having any intimate relationship with Clinton, says they are simply family friends. And Clinton, according to the Journal, says that there are many foundation participants who he considers friends. Secretary Clinton did not respond to the Journal's request for any comment.
Minutes later, co-host Savannah Guthrie labeled it an “explosive story” and Bloomberg Politics managing editor Mark Halperin fretted:
This co-mingles a lot of things that Republicans want to highlight. The Clinton Foundation, how it conducted its business, maybe intermingling the personal with financial commitments, for-profit, non-profit. And the relationship to President Clinton, the Journal describes her as a close friend. It's gonna get a lot of scrutiny from Republicans today. They’re already buzzing about it.
On This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose informed viewers:
And The Wall Street Journal says a non-profit program run by the Clinton Foundation helped friends of the Clintons. The Clinton Global Initiative arranges donations to help solve the world's problems. The Journal says in 2010 the program set up a $2 million commitment that benefitted a for-profit energy company. It was partly owned by a close friend of the Clintons. A spokesman for Bill Clinton said the former president counts many CGI participants as friends. Hillary Clinton's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Here are portions of Stephanopoulos’s May 13 exchange with Trump:
7:06 AM ET
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about your tax return. Under new pressure from the Clinton campaign, Secretary Clinton talking about that the last couple of days. I just have a bottom-line question for you. Yes or no, do you believe voters have a right to see your tax returns before they make a final decision?
DONALD TRUMP: I don't think they do. But I do say this, I will really gladly give them – not going to learn anything – but it's under routine audit. When the audit ends, I'm going to present them. That should be before the election. I hope it's before the election. But when the audit ends, I've had even journalists say that, no, nobody should give until audits are over. I’ve had journalists say that.
So I think if there's no – I sort of have to laugh when Clinton says it, Mrs. Clinton said that I should give my tax returns. What about all the missing e-mails that she’s got? When is she going to give the missing e-mails or her Goldman Sachs speeches? When is she going to give that? Very, very great hypocrite.
But as far as I'm concerned, I want to give it as soon as possible, as soon as the audit ends, I’ll give it. I've been under audit. Every year they audit me. I have wealthy friends that never get audited, I get audited every single year.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your tax rate?
TRUMP: It's none of your business. You'll see it when I release. But I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, we've talked about this several times over the last several years. I first asked you about this in 2011 and you said you would release your tax returns then, you were thinking of running for president when President Obama releases his birth certificate. He did. Then you said you would release your tax returns when Secretary Clinton released her e-mails. She has turned over all the e-mails in her possession.
TRUMP: She didn’t turn over all, there's plenty missing. I read yesterday where there are a lot of e-mails missing. Don’t – I know she’s a good friends of yours and I know you worked for them and you didn’t reveal it. But you know, she did not turn over her e-mails. There are a lot of e-mails missing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There were e-mails from her staffers missing, she turned over the e-mails she has.
TRUMP: There are e-mails missing all over the place. The whole thing is a scam. There are e-mails missing all over the place.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you have also said then that you were just going through all of the returns and you will release them as soon as you went through them. Now you're throwing up the audit. There were some –
TRUMP: I never said that at all. I said to you that I will release them upon the completion of the audit like anybody else. I was interviewed last night or the other night by Greta Van Susteren, who’s a lawyer. She said, “I happen to agree with you. Until the audit is complete you shouldn't release them.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Trump, thanks very much for your time this morning.
TRUMP: Alright, thank you very much.