Hillary Clinton escaped catastrophe when FBI Director James Comey declined to recommend criminal charges in connection with her emails. But the influence-peddling pipeline between the Clinton Foundation and the Department of State during her tenure as Secretary might just come back to do her in…

Witness John Heilemann, co-host of Bloomberg TV’s With All Due Respect, on this evening’s show. Heilemann is anything but a conservative or Trump admirer, yet he had the candor to describe Hillary’s State Department dealings as “seamy and seedy.”

Even guest co-host Alex Wagner, a devout liberal, acknowledged: “you can’t get past the number that the AP is reporting today, that 85 of the 154 people from private interests that met with Secretary Clinton while she was at the State Department were donors to the Clinton Foundation. Those numbers are a problem.”

JOHN HEILEMANN: First of all, let’s say this, we have to give this, the Clinton Foundation does a lot of wonderful work around the world. It has done great things. And one of the ways the Clintons and their acolytes and adherents and fans of the Democratic party try to distract and misdirect is to say “oh! The Clinton Foundation! Why are you attacking the Clinton Foundation? It does noble work in Africa.” [Editor’s note: as a guest on Morning Joe today, Heilemann was a witness to Clinton defender James Carville making precisely those kind of arguments.]

Those aren’t the issues here, though. The issues here are about access of really, really rich people, in inappropriate ways, to people in policymaking positions. It is clearly the case that if there is ever a quid pro quo that gets established where a donor asked for something and the State Department changed foreign policy on that, it’s going to be explosive. We don’t have that yet. But there is still something seedy, and seamy, about the way in which Doug Band is sending emails to Huma Abedin saying “this guy is one of our really good friends. Try to set up a meeting.” Sometimes the meeting gets set up, sometimes the meeting would have been set up anyway. But it’s just not the way anybody in either party should want business to be done in our government!

ALEX WAGNER: And you can’t get past the number that the AP is reporting today, that 85 of the 154 people from private interests who met with Secretary Clinton while she was at the State Department were donors to the Clinton Foundation. Those numbers are a problem.

HEILEMANN: Yes, and, let’s be clear about this. Clinton met with representatives of at least 16 foreign governments that donated as much as $170 million to Clinton charities. You know, again, there’s no quid pro quo that’s been proven, no quid pro quo has been asserted, but this is what the Obama administration was worried about when she became Secretary of State, and it now has the potential of being a huge distraction at a minimum for her going forward.

WAGNER: And at not a great time in the campaign.