Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton on Monday dismissed an upcoming book that will reportedly outline favorable treatment from her State Department in exchange for foreign donations to her family foundation, saying it comes with the territory of running for president.
Clinton 'ready' for attacks in wake of book story
"We are back into the political season and there are all kinds of distractions and attacks," Clinton told reporters in New Hampshire on Monday, her first comments to the media. "And I am ready for that. I know that that comes, unfortunately, with the territory. It is, I think, worth nothing that the Republicans seem to be talking only about me. I don't know what they would be talk about if I wasn't in the race. But I am in the race and hopefully we will get onto the issues and I look forward to that."
"Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich," by Peter Schweizer, comes out May 5. But some of her potential Republican presidential opponents have already been briefed on its contents, and Sen. Rand Paul has said the book will make Americans "question" Clinton's candidacy.
Earlier in the day, Clinton's spokesman also dismissed the New York Times report as focusing "on attacks rather than ideas."
"It appears that this book is being used to aid this coordinated attack strategy, twisting previously known facts into absurd conspiracy theories," Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon. "It will not be the first work of partisan-fueled fiction about the Clintons' record, and we know it will not be the last."
The White House was again roped into a Clinton controversy with questions on the book at the daily press briefing on Monday. Press secretary Josh Earnest said while there have been "a lot of accusations made about this," there's "not a lot of evidence."
According to the New York Times, which obtained a copy of the book, Schweizer outlines a number of examples in which he alleges foreign governments that contributed to the Clinton Foundation or paid Bill Clinton high speaking fees got a boost from the State Department while Clinton was secretary of State.
He cites as examples a free-trade agreement in Colombia that benefited a major donor to the foundation and payments to Bill Clinton from a Canadian bank that would've benefited from the Keystone XL pipeline, among others.
"We will see a pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds," Schweizer writes in the book.
During Clinton's four years at State, the Foundation banned increased donations from some foreign governments in part to avoid any conflicts of interest. After she stepped down in 2013, however, the Foundation removed certain restrictions to donations from foreign governments — a practice it's said will continue during Clinton's run for president. Many of the details related to foundation donations were first reported by the Washington Post.
Earnest defended the restrictions imposed on the Foundation when Clinton came on at State, saying they "went beyond the baseline level of [existing ethical] guidelines to put in place strict ethical requirements" on the organization. But he stopped short of saying definitively that the Clinton State Department did not offer favorable treatment to donors.
"There have been a lot of accusations that have been lobbed in the context of a just-started presidential campaign. Those accusations have not been accompanied by a bunch of evidence. So I'm not going to stand here and respond to accusations," he said.
The Times reports that members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — including Paul and Sen. Marco Rubio, who have both officially launched their bids for the GOP presidential nomination — have been briefed on the contents of the book, and some of the campaigns have copies of it.
GOP outside groups are sure to pounce on an issue the GOP sees as potentially disqualifying for Clinton in her second play for the White House. The donations drew added scrutiny earlier this year when a number of media reports raised questions about the very issue outlined in Schweitzer's upcoming book.
Republicans have already begun using the donations to question whether she can be trusted to treat foreign governments fairly if elected president, and are certain to launch further attacks along that line going forward. Paul spokesman Sergio Gor indicated as much when asked for a comment on the book.
"We are not commenting further on the book at this time, but will in the near future," he said.