Leon Panetta Says Americans Should ‘Move On’ From Clinton Emails

He said it's time for candidates and the public to focus on 'the real issues.'

August 14, 2016, 9:39 AM

— -- Clinton supporter and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called on the public to “move on” from Hillary Clinton’s emails and instead focus on the "real issues."

“It's been investigated, no action has been taken by the Justice Department," Panetta said on ABC’s “This Week.” “They found no basis for any kind of action.”

"I really do think it's time for the candidates and for the American people to move on and talk about the real issues,” he said.

"This Week" co-anchor Martha Raddatz asked Panetta about allegations that the State Department under Clinton improperly gave favors to Clinton Foundation donors and if he agrees with the campaign's implication over the past week that allegations surrounding the foundation are part of a "conspiracy" against the Democratic nominee.

Panetta said that as far as he knows no one has been able to pin down that State Department aides did anything for foundation donors. As to the campaign's claims of a conspiracy, Panetta said it's just "politics."

“The opposing party is always going to make attacks and you'll make attacks on the other party, that's part of the nature of the game,” he said.

Panetta also addressed Republican nominee Donald Trump’s calling President Obama last week the “founder of ISIS,” a claim that the GOP candidate later said was meant as sarcasm. He said Trump should be presenting his plan to defeat the terrorist group, instead of attacking the president.

“Instead of making an outrageous claim that somehow President Obama is the father of ISIS, which is a lie, he ought to present what strategy he would implement to defeat ISIS,” said Panetta, who served as chief of staff to President Clinton and as CIA director and defense secretary under President Obama. “He says he has a secret plan, and nobody knows what that plan is all about.”

The former Secretary of Defense also acknowledged Republican concerns that the failure to keep troops in Iraq led to the rise of ISIS.

“Look, mistakes have been made in the war against terrorism going back to the 80s,” he said. “If you're Donald Trump you could label Ronald Reagan as a father of violent terrorism."

In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 50 percent of Americans view Hillary Clinton unfavorably, but Panetta said he's confident that the former secretary of state will earn people's trust if she's elected in November.

“When you do elect somebody to be president of the United States, it is then, and then only, frankly, that that president begins to earn the trust of the American people,” he said. “She ultimately will earn that trust by virtue of what, by what she does, not what she says.”

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