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Bill Clinton: Foundation will continue work, change plans

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Posted at 3:52 PM, Aug 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-22 15:52:18-04

Former President Bill Clinton said Monday that his family’s charitable foundation will alter how it works if Hillary Clinton wins the White House, amid mounting pressure from both critics and supporters.

Bill Clinton will curtail his direct involvement in the multi-billion-dollar charity and the group will transition some programs to like-minded charities, he said in a statement on the foundation’s website Monday.

“Over the last several months, members of the Foundation’s senior leadership, Chelsea, and I have evaluated how the Foundation should operate if Hillary is elected,” the former president wrote. “Throughout the process, our top priorities have been preserving our most important programs, supporting the people who work for the Foundation and its affiliated programs, and resolving legitimate conflict of interest questions.”

The update from Clinton — who told supporters last week that he would also stop doing paid speeches — comes as Donald Trump blasted the nonprofit organization is “the most corrupt enterprise in political history.”

“It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history. What they were doing during Crooked Hillary’s time as secretary of state was wrong then, and it is wrong now. It must be shut down immediately,” Trump said in a statement.

A spokesman for the Clinton Foundation pointed to the new post from the former president when asked about Trump’s comments.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, accused Trump of using the issue to hide from his own problems.

“The Foundation has already laid out the unprecedented steps the charity will take if Hillary Clinton becomes president. Donald Trump needs to come clean with voters about his complex network of for-profit businesses that are hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to big banks, including the state-owned Bank of China, and other business groups with ties to the Kremlin,” Podesta said.

Bill Clinton also announced last week that the Clinton Global Initiatives meeting of high-dollar donors, celebrities and foreign leaders next month would be its last.

The Clinton Foundation also announced last week that it would no longer accept foreign or corporate donations if Hillary Clinton wins the White House and that it would no longer convene its annual meeting.

The foundation has raised money in the years since Bill Clinton left the White House and has launched a host of charitable efforts targeting climate change, improving quality of life for women and girls in developing countries and fighting health crises.

The charitable foundation has been scrutinized throughout Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, but the organization has faced greater scrutiny since emails were newly uncovered showing a top Clinton Foundation donor seeking access to a top diplomat when Clinton was secretary of state.

New emails obtained by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch and released Monday show then-Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band asking top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin to arrange a meeting with the then-secretary of state for the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa. The crown prince’s charity donated $32 million for a program run through the Clinton Global Initiative.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said Monday that the new exchange, and others, showed donors buying access to the secretary of state through the foundation. But none of the exchanges appeared to show a direct quid-pro-quo.

“No matter how this group tries to mischaracterize these documents, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton never took action as Secretary of State because of donations to the Clinton Foundation,” Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin said about the newest emails.

The Trump campaign has attempted to keep the spotlight fixed on Clinton’s troubles, but his own gaffes have continued to get in the way. Trump’s request that Russian hackers search for Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails led to questions of whether he would be committing treason by asking foreign agents to hack a US presidential candidate.