Billionaire business mogul Mark Cuban defended
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton from allegations that the Clinton Foundation was involved in a “pay to play” scheme while she was serving as secretary of state.
Cuban, the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” told CNN’s Don Lemon in a Monday night interview that he sees nothing wrong with the activities of the Clinton Foundation while the former secretary of state held that post.
“So let’s put it in context,” Cuban said of the allegation that foundation donors got special access to the state department when Clinton ran it. “Bill Clinton has a dramatically more valuable and bigger brand globally than Donald Trump. Bill Clinton as a brand for the rest of the world outside the United States is enormous. He was the leader of the free world for eight years. He knows how to do things in ways that Donald Trump and pretty much anybody else unless you were president don’t — you know, only they know.”
“And so for him to go out globally and talk to foreign nations and say, look, you know, I can help you, I can help you deal with issues that, you know, I’ve seen, that are unique to you, that apply to, you know, health initiatives, we’re dealing with these health initiatives through the Clinton Global Initiative, the Clinton Foundation, and so I want you to donate to the Clinton Foundation,” he continued. “In exchange, and yes, there is an exchange, right? I’ll help you where I can because I have knowledge that nobody else has and I can help you.”
He said that although some “might not like this,” Cuban said it’s also how “my friends and my business associates deal with me when people try to pitch businesses.”
“Along the way, is it fair for him to say, look, is there something that has to do with Hillary, we’ll get somebody to send an email,” Cuban said. “Now, if there’s a good reason for her to meet with you, fine, and if not, fine. But it’s her decision and let me just tell you, it rarely happens. Just like my friends say to other people it rarely happens that Mark invests in businesses.”
The difference between Trump, the Manhattan billionaire and current Republican nominee, and the former president, he said, is that Trump “sells his name for hotels in exchange for a check” while “Bill Clinton uses his experience and provides help to a lot of foreign countries, a lot of other organisations, and in exchange, he provides them support.”
“But rather than having the check written to himself, OK, you can say other than some speeches, the money goes to the foundation,” Cuban said. “Big difference. And I don’t see anything wrong with that even in the least bit.”
The latest allegations of impropriety came after Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog organisation, published emails that it claimed proved Clinton gave donors special access to the State Department while she was running it.
Clinton had denied such allegations in July, and her campaign chairman dismissed the allegations in a statement last week.
“The Foundation has already laid out the unprecedented steps the charity will take if Hillary Clinton becomes president,” campaign chair John Podesta wrote.
Multiple outlets’ editorial boards have called for Clinton to cut ties to the foundation, and Trump has seized on the foundation controversy in his latest round of attacks against the former secretary of state.
Cuban endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at a rally in Pittsburgh, his hometown, last month. He called Trump a “jagoff” — a popular, demeaning slang term frequently used in western Pennsylvania — during the event. The bombastic billionaire has ripped Trump repeatedly on social media in recent months.
Earlier in the cycle, Cuban expressed interest in serving as either Trump’s or Clinton’s running mate before souring on the real-estate magnate’s candidacy. In a Monday tweet, he wrote that he knew there “was no chance [that being picked as a running mate] was happening.”
Watch Cuban’s comments below:
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