A closer look at the ties between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department


    What are the ties between the Clinton Foundation and a Former Chief of Staff who served under Hillary Clinton at the U.S. State Department? (Sinclair Broadcast Group)

    The second highest-ranking Republican in the Senate is demanding answers from the Justice Department regarding the Clinton Foundation and allegations of “pay for play.”

    Senator John Cornyn sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking if it's true that the department chose not to look into these claims, even after the FBI expressed a desire to investigate.

    There are new allegations of a conflict of interest that were borne from a release of more Clinton emails while she was Secretary of State. Her then Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills did work for the Clinton Foundation, while still employed at state. She even interviewed potential new hires according to CNN

    But is there anything wrong with that? Clinton's camp says:

    "Cheryl volunteered her personal time to a charitable organization." said campaign spokesman Brian Fallon. "Cheryl paid for her travel to New York City personally and it was crystal clear to all involved that this had nothing to do with her official duties. The idea that this poses a conflict of interest is absurd."

    Did it go beyond volunteer work? And as critics further wonder, did the Clinton Foundation ever scratch the backs of big international donors by showing them favoritism with the state department?

    "Well, her chief of staff and deputy chief of staff were getting information and coordinating with the Clinton Foundation and taking care of a foundation donor. There's no doubt that took place the emails show that took place," Tim Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said.

    While state officials deny any breach of protocol, State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said, "the state department is not aware of any actions that were influenced by the Clinton Foundation."

    Judicial Watch, which has filed multiple suits to access emails, says the FBI should investigate. CNN reports the bureau considered it but was shut down by the Justice Department. Fitton says that doesn’t mean it's over.

    "Well she broke her ethics agreement where she promised to have a bright line and no involvement with the Clinton Foundation work,: he said. “Her top people were heavily involved and on top of that you've got the potential of people misusing government office for private gain."

    If there was any quid-pro-quo, Fitton says it may come out in more emails they're still suing to see.

    On the Clinton Foundation's website, there is another attempt to clarify. It says while Clinton did attend events like the annual meeting of Clinton Global Initiative, she was not involved in the foundation's work while serving as secretary of state.

    Bill Clinton says it was a mistake for Hillary Clinton to maintain a personal email server even though her predecessors and her successor at the State Department did it.

    But the former president says his wife should have known that there would be a different set of rules applied to her if she ran for the presidency.

    Bill Clinton defended the Democratic nominee for president Friday during a question-and-answer period at a Las Vegas forum organized by Asian American Pacific Islander journalism and voter advocacy groups.

    Clinton says it didn't occur to diplomats sending the emails at the time that they should be concerned with records classification.

    The former president also says the email server shouldn't be a cause for distrust, and that people in the national security community wouldn't endorse Hillary Clinton's candidacy if it was.

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