Behind closed doors, Hillary Clinton told groups in the financial sector that she is working toward “open trade and open borders” and said Wall Street executives were best-positioned to help reform the U.S. economy, according to transcripts of her private, paid speeches leaked Friday.
Excerpts of the speeches given in the years before her 2016 presidential campaign included some blunt and scary remarks to her private audiences, which collectively paid her at least $26.1 million in speaking fees. Clinton had refused to release transcripts of the speeches, despite repeated requests for her to do so.
The excerpts were included in emails exchanged among her political staff, including Campaign Chairman John Podesta, whose email account was hacked. WikiLeaks posted what it said were thousands of Podesta’s emails. It wasn’t immediately clear who had hacked Podesta’s emails, though the breach appeared to cover years of messages, some sent as recently as last month.
Here is a direct link to the WikiLeaks Database of Podesta’s Emails
Among the emails was a compilation of excerpts from Clinton’s paid speeches in 2013 and 2014. It appeared campaign staff had read all Clinton’s speeches and identified passages that could be potentially problematic for the candidate if they were to become public.
One excerpt put Clinton squarely in the free-trade camp, a position she has retreated on significantly during the 2016 election. In a talk to a Brazilian bank in 2013, she said her “dream” is “a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders” and asked her audience to think of what doubling American trade with Latin America “would mean for everybody in this room.”
“I’m not happy about being hacked by the Russians in their quest to throw the election to Donald Trump,” Podesta wrote.
Podesta’s comments came just hours after U.S. officials publicly accused the Russian government of directing cyber-attacks on political organizations and American citizens in an attempt to interfere with U.S. elections.
The joint statement from the office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Homeland Security Department cited disclosures of “alleged hacked emails” on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks as being “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.”
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement, “It’s not hard to see why she fought so hard to keep her transcripts of speeches to Wall Street banks paying her millions of dollars secret.”
The emails released Friday included exchanges between Podesta and other Clinton insiders, including campaign manager Robby Mook. Most were routine, including drafts of Clinton speeches, suggested talking points for campaign surrogates and suggested tweets to be sent out from Clinton’s account.
The excerpts include quotes from an October 2013 speech at an event sponsored by Goldman Sachs, in which Clinton conceded that presidential candidates need the financial backing of Wall Street to mount a competitive national campaign.
“Running for office in our country takes a lot of money, and candidates have to go out and raise it,” Clinton said.
“It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be,” Clinton said. “But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.”