Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for an “expedited investigation” by a special prosecutor into “pay-to-play” accusations involving the Clinton Foundation while reiterating on Monday he plans to have a “firm, but fair” stance on illegal immigration.
“The Clintons’ made the State Department into the same kind of Pay-to-Play operations as the Arkansas Government was: pay the Clinton Foundation huge sums of money and throw in some big speaking fees for Bill Clinton and you got to play with the State Department,” Trump said at a campaign rally Monday night in Akron, Ohio.
“The amounts involved, the favors done, the significant amount of time, require an expedited investigation by a special prosecutor immediately, immediately,” he added.
Trump also called the investigation by the FBI and Justice Department into Clinton’s private email server a “whitewash,” and said that the two agencies “cannot be trusted to quickly or impartially investigate Hillary Clinton’s crimes.”
The billionaire businessman also expanded on earlier comments he made in the day on “Fox and Friends” about being “fair, but firm” on illegal immigration in an interview on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.”
“I just want to follow the law,” he told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.
“The first thing we’re gonna do, if and when I win, is we’re gonna get rid of all of the bad ones. We’ve got gang members, we have killers, we have a lot of bad people that have to get out of this country. We’re gonna get them out,” he said.
“As far as everybody else, we’re going to go through the process,” he said, while citing the policies of President Obama and former President George W. Bush as examples.
“I’m going to do the same thing. We’re going to do it in a humane manor,” Trump said, adding that the “bad ones” are known by law enforcement.
Asked whether Trump’s plan still included a deportation force, his new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Sunday it was “to be determined.”
“Even Sen. Jeff Sessions,” a hard-liner on immigration, “he doesn’t deport 11 million people in his plan,” Conway said on CNBC.
Trump had been scheduled to deliver a speech on the topic Thursday in Colorado, but has postponed it.
There have been signs for weeks now that Trump may be shifting course. Hispanic business and religious leaders who would like to see Trump move in a more inclusive direction have reported closed-door conversations with Trump in which they say he has signaled possibly embracing a less punitive immigration policy that focuses on “compassion” along with the rule of law.
At last month’s GOP convention, the Republican National Committee’s director of Hispanic communications, Helen Aguirre Ferre, told reporters at a Spanish-language briefing that Trump had already said he “will not do massive deportations” — despite the fact that Trump had never said so publicly.
Instead, Aguirre Ferre said, “he will focus on removing the violent undocumented who have criminal records and live in the country.”
Indeed, Trump’s first television ad of the general election specifically singles out illegal immigrants with criminal records, claiming that, if Clinton is elected, “Illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay.”
Trump’s campaign has pushed back on the notion that he’s reversing course. “Mr. Trump said nothing today that he hasn’t said many times before, including in his convention speech,” rapid response director Steven Cheung said after the meeting.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.