Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton implied there is a difference between her family's foundation accepting foreign donations during her cabinet tenure and doing the same during her potential presidency, saying the latter would present "unique circumstances" absent during her time as the nation's top diplomat.

The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation announced last Thursday it would stop taking foreign and corporate donations if she is elected president this November. Wednesday evening, CNN's Anderson Cooper posed the same question that Ethan Epstein did last week: "Why was it okay for the Clinton Foundation to accept foreign donations when you were secretary of state but it wouldn't be okay if you were president?"

The transcript of her response (emphasis added):

CLINTON: Well, what we did when I was secretary of state, as I said, went above and beyond anything that was required, anything that any charitable organization has to do. Now, obviously, if I am president, there will be some unique circumstances and that's why the foundation has laid out additional— COOPER: But didn't those unique circumstances exist when you were secretary of state? CLINTON: —if I am elected. COOPER: Didn't those unique circumstances exist— CLINTON: No, no. And, you know, look, Anderson, I know there's a lot of smoke and there's no fire. This AP report, put in it context, this excludes nearly 2,000 meetings I had with world leaders, with countless other meetings with U.S. government officials when I was secretary of state. It looked at a small portion of my time. And it draws a conclusion and made a suggestion that my meetings with people like the late great Elie Wiesel or Melinda Gates or the Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus were somehow due to connections with the foundation instead of their status as highly respected global leaders. That is absurd. These are people I was proud to meet with, that any secretary of state would have been proud to meet with, to hear about their work and their insights.

The Associated Press report to which Clinton referred, released Wednesday night, stated that at least 85 of 154 private officials with whom she met while secretary of state donated or pledged commitments to her foundation totaling as much as $156 million. The AP named a few of the 85 individuals by name, including Yunus, but has not released a full list, with a spokesman telling the Huffington Post that the wire organization is still "reporting on them—cross-referencing information and so on."

Clinton's campaign and defenders used the lack of specificity to criticize the report, wondering how a meeting with donor Elie Wiesel, for example—one of the people her team suspects is among the 85—is scandalous.

Added Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon: "We have applied the AP's criteria on our own, cross-referencing publicly available donor info with publicly available schedules of her meetings."

But the AP noted that it has sued for more extensive information. It included this rebuttal in its investigation: "Clinton's campaign said the AP analysis was flawed because it did not include in its calculations meetings with foreign diplomats or U.S. government officials, and the meetings AP examined covered only the first half of Clinton's tenure as secretary of state. AP has sought for years a complete set of Clinton's detailed schedules covering her time in office, which she could have voluntarily released but did not. The AP sued the State Department in federal court to obtain the schedules it has received so far."

The transparency issues notwithstanding, Clinton countered accusations Wednesday night that she sold access during her time at the State Department.

"My work as secretary of state was not influenced by the outside forces. I made policy decisions based on what I thought was right that keep Americans safe and to protect U.S. interests abroad," she said.