Speed Reads

2016 Watch

Rand Paul wants to ban George Stephanopoulos from moderating 2016 debates

Rand Paul

After ABC News chief anchor and chief political correspondent George Stephanopoulos announced that he had donated money to the Clinton Foundation, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) suggested that Stephanopoulos shouldn't moderate any 2016 presidential debates.

"It's impossible to divorce yourself from that, even if you try," Paul told The New York Times. "I just think it's really, really hard, because he's been there, so close to them, that there would be a conflict of interest if he tried to be a moderator of any sort."

Stephanopoulos, who was one of Bill Clinton's closest advisors during his first term as president, issued an apology on Thursday for not disclosing his donations while reporting on the foundation, and ABC News expressed its support for him in a separate statement. But Paul isn't the only one who still has a bone to pick with the anchor: On Thursday, Sen. Mike Lee's (R-Utah) communications director tweeted that he won't allow Lee to be interviewed on ABC until Stephanopoulos distances himself from 2016 coverage. Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer also called Stephanopoulos' omission "a massive breach of ethical standards."

Update, 2:35 p.m.: Stephanopoulos told Politico on Thursday that he "probably shouldn't have" donated money to the Clinton Foundation and clarified that he donated $75,000 to the foundation, not $50,000, as Politico had previously reported. Stephanopoulos also said he won't moderate ABC's GOP primary debate in February.