Conservative author admits evidence on Hillary Clinton is circumstantial: In back-to-back interviews over the past 24 interviews, conservative author Peter Schweizer admits he doesn’t have direct evidence that Hillary Clinton intervened to assist individuals and entities because they donated large sums of money to the Clinton Foundation. On ABC yesterday, Schweizer was asked if he had proof that Hillary Clinton directly took action to benefit a Clinton Foundation donor from the sale of a uranium mining company. “No, we don't have direct evidence. But it warrants further investigation because, again, … this is part of the broader pattern. You either have to come to the conclusion that these are all coincidences or something else is afoot.” In an interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie this morning, Schweizer said, “What we have is a pattern of behavior,” adding that this pattern consistently shows Clinton Foundation donors benefiting from Hillary Clinton’s State Department. More Schweizer: “I think it should be [criminally] investigated… I don’t think a quid-pro-quo needs to be a standard,” citing the charges that brought down former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. When Guthrie asked him about his ties to the conservative movement and GOP politics, Schweizer said, “I am not claiming to be neutral,” though he also stated that he’s taken on conservatives, too.
Clinton Foundation: “Yes, we made mistakes”: Meanwhile, in a blog post on Sunday, the Clinton Foundation’s acting CEO, Maura Pally, acknowledged that the Clinton Foundation made mistakes in its filings of 990 tax forms. “Our total revenue was accurately reported on each year's form – our error was that government grants were mistakenly combined with other donations… So yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don't happen in the future.” Pally also explained why some Clinton Foundation-related donations weren’t disclosed like others were -- because they were to a Canadian offshoot. “[T]he Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada) is publicly listed as a donor on our website. But as it is a distinct Canadian organization, separate from the Clinton Foundation, its individual donors are not listed on the site. This is hardly an effort on our part to avoid transparency – unlike in the U.S., under Canadian law; all charities are prohibited from disclosing individual donors without prior permission from each donor.”
Why is the Clinton Foundation STILL taking foreign donations? But here’s a big question that we have as Hillary Clinton has begun her presidential candidacy and as she stands a decent chance of sitting in the Oval Office in 2017: Why is the Clinton Foundation taking ANY foreign money at all? As we wrote last week, and as Pally confirms in her blog post, the Clinton Foundation still receives foreign money from six foreign countries -- Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the U.K. A Clinton Foundation official has told NBC News, “You just can’t pull the plug” on existing programs, especially when they involve multi-year grants. But in a world where appearances do matter, should the Clinton Foundation be receiving those donations anymore?
Jeb: I’ve raised more money in 100 days than any GOP operation in history: The New York Times: “Jeb Bush told donors [in Miami] that he believed his political action committee had raised more money in 100 days than any other modern Republican political operation, according to those who heard him.” Of course, there’s one hitch with any record: The money Jeb is raising is through his Super PAC, which is able to raise unlimited amounts of money. And while the Clinton Foundation money is legitimately receiving attention, so should the loophole that Jeb Bush is exploiting in campaign finance law -- that presidential candidates can’t coordinate with Super PACs. But since Jeb TECHNICALLY isn’t a presidential candidate, he’s raising all of this money for his Super PAC.
George W. Bush comments on his brother’s campaign, Obama’s Iran policy: Over the weekend, it turned out Jeb Bush’s older brother -- former President George W. Bush -- made some news. The Washington Post: “At a closed-door dinner Saturday night before nearly 800 members of the Republican Jewish Coalition, the 43rd president noted that it could hurt former Florida governor Jeb Bush if he campaigned alongside another Bush who served in the White House, according to several attendees. ‘He said that one of the challenges his brother is going to have is that the country doesn’t like dynasties,’ recalled David Volosov, a RJC member from Silver Spring, Md. ‘People are going to say, “Oh, here comes another Bush.” His response is that he is going to stay as far as way as he can. He is going to stay away from the whole process.’” More from the New York Times: “Mr. Bush voiced skepticism about the Obama administration’s pursuit of a nuclear deal with Iran. Although he had begun the diplomatic effort to press Iran to give up its nuclear program, Mr. Bush questioned whether it was wise to lift sanctions against Tehran when the Islamic government seemed to be caving in, and suggested that the United States risked losing leverage if it did so.”
OBAMA AGENDA: A different Abe (Shinzo) to address Congress
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be the first Japanese leader to address a joint session of Congress this week -- and he'll talk about his nation's role in global security. The Wall Street Journal: "When Shinzo Abe goes to Washington for a pomp-filled visit this week, the Japanese leader faces a delicate balancing act: selling Americans on his vision of the future—a newly vibrant, muscular, more equal Japanese partner—while trying to quell doubts stoked by his views of the past."
The New York Times explores the administration's efforts to take its cybersecurity pitch to a skeptical Silicon Valley.
The Washington Post ed board backs Obama on trade. "With a furious political battle over trade looming on Capitol Hill, it’s high time Mr. Obama personally and aggressively took on the phony arguments that “progressives” are marshalling in a desperate attempt to block trade measures whose merits would withstand honest scrutiny."
In rare comments on global issues, George W. Bush took on Obama's foreign policy, criticizing the Iran deal and his efforts to counter the Islamic State, writes Bloomberg.
CONGRESS: Will GOP amendments doom bipartisan Iran legislation?
"A bill to give Congress a voice in the nuclear deal with Iran is now endangered by Republican amendments that would peel away bipartisan support for a measure begrudgingly accepted by the White House this month," writes the New York Times.
More, from POLITICO: “Republican and Democratic leaders, who back the review bill, plan to muster enough votes to block any seriously problematic amendments while still allowing their members to take some political potshots. If they let through any bombshells that significantly undermine the White House’s negotiations, they risk losing Democratic support and the veto-proof majority that Corker has painstakingly assembled.
The odd media story around Harry Reid's New Years Day accident continues with this, from the Las Vegas Sun: "A Las Vegas man claims he started a false rumor that the injuries suffered by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid several months ago were the result of an attack by Reid’s brother, not an exercise accident."
OFF TO THE RACES: GOP struggling to adjust to gay-marriage landscape
Here's the Des Moines Register's wrap of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition's Saturday cattle call.
Big picture, in the New York Times: "Republican presidential candidates are struggling to adjust to a rapidly changing legal, political and cultural landscape this primary season, as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments Tuesday on whether same-sex marriage is a constitutionally protected right."
BUSH: In Miami Beach, Jeb Bush told super PAC donors that they've raised more money in the organization's first 100 days than any other Republican operation in history.
CLINTON: Hillary Clinton writes a Des Moines Register op-ed: “When I came to Iowa, I wanted to do something a little different. No big speeches or rallies. Just talking directly with everyday Iowans. Because this campaign isn't going to be about me, it's going to be about Iowans and people across our country who are ready for a better future. It's not enough to just get by, you deserve to get ahead and stay ahead. And everywhere I went, I met Iowans with great ideas for how we can get there.”
The acting chief executive of the Clinton Foundation admits that the organization "made mistakes" in how it disclosed donors.
More, from the Washington Post: "Nevertheless, the foundation explained for the first time publicly that one of its affiliates — a Canada-based charity that bears Bill Clinton’s name — would continue to keep its donors secret because of restrictions in Canadian law."
Here's Savannah Guthrie's interview with "Clinton Cash" author Peter Schweizer.
CRUZ: The gay businessman who hosted an event for Ted Cruz has apologized for showing "poor judgment."
RUBIO: He detailed his immigration philosophy to the Des Moines Register ed board.
WEBB: He attended a private event with veterans in Des Moines.
And around the country...
CALIFORNIA: The New York Times looks at the divide between rich and poor in drought-stricken California.
Additional reporting for this article from Carrie Dann.