New York Times political reporter Maggie Haberman and a CNN panel react to Hillary Clinton's interview with Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night. Haberman said Clinton's answer on the foundation, saying there is smoke but no fire, is not enough for the voter. Transcript, via CNN:
POPPY HARLOW, CNN: All right. Let's bring back in our panel to talk about it. Maggie Haberman and Philip Bump back with us, reacting to the news, that interview.
Maggie let me start with you. No one is questioning the good work of the foundation, that they're just not. But when she says, OK, the rules will need to change if I'm president, but they didn't need to change when I was secretary of state. And then when Anderson pressed her on that, she said basically, well, I went above and beyond in 2009.
You know why she went above and beyond? Because never before there been a situation like that. And that's not a direct answer to the question. I wonder if you think that's enough for the voter.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: I don't think it's enough for the voter, and I don't think it's enough for what's going to happen over the next eight weeks terms of the debate and in terms of whatever future interviews she faces. The fact she did this interview at all is the suggestion that what Trump is doing, however unrealistic, is getting call for a special prosecutor which she's been doing for several days now, is getting through the people.
And I think Anderson asked the exact right question, which I if this is not going to be OK when you're president, why was it okay before. And she doesn't have a great answer.
HARLOW: Well, actually why not stop now?
HABERMAN: Right, or why not stop now.
HARLOW: Why not start on unwinding now?
HABERMAN: There are no great answers to this. It is true that the foundation does good work, but it also -- there's an enormous amount of defensiveness on the part of the Clinton about this and has been for many, many years about what are legitimate questions. At the end of the day, yes, it is true. It is smoke, there is no evidence of a quid pro quo. But there is certainly clear evidence of the foundation and the State Department doing what they said they wouldn't do, which is have a lot of interaction and a lot of back and forth.
And that is going to look strange. To your point, we've never had a set of circumstances like this before. Usually what people would do in that situation is try to use the utmost caution.
The Clintons repeatedly over many years, get into these kind of situations where there's just enough for critics to hit them on. And the two aides who are the most involved in this, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, I assume Hillary Clinton will want to bring into the White House because they've been with her for a long time. That's also where there's going to be a headache going forward.