By Linda Qiu and Lauren Carroll
Mike Pence, emphatically denying allegations of sexual assault against Donald Trump, protested Sunday that the media hasn’t applied the same scrutiny to Hillary Clinton.
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Pence said the media has paid more attention to the “unsubstantiated” charges against Trump than the real revelations about Clinton’s wrongdoings at the State Department.
“The national media is ignoring an avalanche of real, hard evidence of corruption during the years of the Clinton administration,” Pence told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “The New York Times just a few minutes ago posted a story about—in exchange for five minutes with Bill Clinton, the government of Qatar was going to give $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.
“We know that more than half of Hillary Clinton’s meetings while she was secretary of state were given to major contributors to the Clinton Foundation.”
PunditFact decided to fact-check both those claims. One is more accurate than the other.
$1 million donation from Qatar
Pence said the government of Qatar was going to give $1 million to the Clinton Foundation in exchange for five minutes with Bill Clinton.
Pence is largely accurate in his description of the New York Times account. His claim rates Mostly True.
The New York Times article, published Oct. 15, details an email obtained by WikiLeaks to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. (The Clinton camp has yet to confirm or deny the leak’s authenticity.)
Amitabh Desai, the Clinton Foundation’s foreign policy director, emailed three Clinton Foundation employees and Doug Band, Bill Clinton’s personal aide, on April 16, 2012, about his meetings with ambassadors from Qatar and a few other foreign countries. Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
“Qatar—Would like to see WJC (William Jefferson Clinton) for ‘five minutes’ in NYC, to present $1 million check that Qatar promises from WJC’s birthday in 2011,” Desai wrote. “Qatar would welcome our suggestions for investments in Haiti—particularly on education and health. They have allocated most of their $20 million but are happy to consider projects we suggest. I’m collecting input from CF Haiti team.”
So the government of Qatar was going to give the Clinton Foundation $1 million as part of a five-minute meeting, according to this email.
But Pence could have been more accurate in his description.
Pence said Qatar “was going to” make a $1 million donation in exchange for a five-minute meeting. But according to Desai’s email, Qatar had promised the check for Bill Clinton’s birthday the previous year. The meeting was to present the check.
Second, it’s not clear if the Qatari ambassador ever got his “five minutes” with the former president.
HIllary Clinton’s meetings with foundation donors
Pence’s claim comes from an Associated Press story published in August, headlined “Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with her at State.”
But “many” does not mean “more than half” of all her meetings. Not even close.
Pence’s claim rates Mostly False.
Clinton served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. The Associated Press analyzed 154 of her State Department meetings and found that 85 of those were with Clinton Foundation donors. Those 85 gave as much as $156 million to the foundation, combined.
This is a tiny subset of Clinton’s meetings.
The analysis excluded meetings with people who work for the U.S. government or foreign governments. And it does not include many meetings Clinton took in the second half of her term because the Associated Press only had access to detailed schedules from the first half.
ABC reported back in 2013 that Clinton met with 1,700 foreign leaders and had 755 meetings at the White House while secretary of state. So that’s at least 2,455 meetings the Associated Press did not include in its analysis
The Associated Press mischaracterized its own reporting in a post on Twitter claiming that “More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.” The AP later deleted the tweet.
Read the full fact-checks at PunditFact.com.