WikiLeaks released a trove of emails apparently hacked from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman email account, unleashing thousands of messages that reveal for the first time excerpts of Clinton’s paid speeches — including those delivered before Wall Street — that were flagged as problematic or potentially damaging.
The late-Friday, October 7, 2016 release came almost immediately after a devastating tape emerged of Donald Trump in 2005 talking about how being “a star” entitled him to make aggressive sexual advances on women, fueling speculation that WikiLeaks is trying to tip the balance of the election.
The batch of emails — which Wikileaks promised is the first of many more to come — provided a glimpse into the inner workings of the campaign, and offered telling details about Clinton’s views on trade and the middle class.
In one of the most notable exchanges, Clinton campaign research director Tony Carrk emails other members of the team on Jan. 25, 2016 to share excerpts of her paid speeches that could come back to bite the campaign.
“Attached are the flags from HRC’s paid speeches we have from HWA. I put some highlights below. There is a lot of policy positions that we should give an extra scrub with Policy,” Carrk writes.
The first excerpt highlighted — with the header *CLINTON ADMITS SHE IS OUT OF TOUCH* — is from a Goldman Sachs-Black Rock event in 2014 in which Clinton discusses her distance from middle-class Americans.
“My father loved to complain about big business and big government, but we had a solid middle class upbringing. We had good public schools. We had accessible health care. We had our little, you know, one-family house that, you know, he saved up his money, didn’t believe in mortgages. So I lived that,” she said in the speech. “And now, obviously, I’m kind of far removed because the life I’ve lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy, but I haven’t forgotten it.”
The speech excerpts also delve into her support for a Canadian-style universal health care system and offer revealing comments about trade, which could prove controversial after Clinton dragged her feet in voicing fierce opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that progressives loathe.
Beyond those excerpts, the emails affirm the campaign’s reputation for extreme caution, with an eagerness to proactively influence news coverage. Whether it’s plotting the candidates’ response to an early attack on influence peddling at the Clinton Foundation or writing jokes for an Iowa dinner speech, ad hoc committees — often incorporating advice from Bill Clinton — are shown agonizing over wording and tone. Under fire, they’re determined “not to look beleaguered,” as one aide put it.
Clinton’s campaign would not confirm the authenticity of the emails — though it did not explicitly deny it either. Podesta tweeted on Friday evening that he did not “have time to figure out which docs are real and which are faked.”
Clinton spokesman Glen Caplin said in an email that, “Earlier today the U.S. government removed any reasonable doubt that the Kremlin has weaponized WikiLeaks to meddle in our election and benefit Donald Trump’s candidacy.”
He added, “We are not going to confirm the authenticity of stolen documents released by Julian Assange who has made no secret of his desire to damage Hillary Clinton. Guccifer 2.0 has already proven the warnings of top national security officials that documents can be faked as part of a sophisticated Russian misinformation campaign.”
The Republican National Committee seized on the leaked excerpts, trying to drive a wedge between Clinton and former supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had made his calls for her speech transcripts a centerpiece of his primary challenge.
“With today’s WikiLeaks revelations we are finding out who Hillary Clinton really is, and 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,” said RNC Chairman Reince Preibus in a statement. “The truth that has been exposed here is that the persona Hillary Clinton has adopted for her campaign is a complete and utter fraud. How can Bernie Sanders and many like-minded Democrats continue to support her candidacy in light of these revelations?”
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon appeared to criticize the media for digging through the trove on Friday evening. “Striking how quickly concern abt Russia’s masterminding of illegal hacks gave way to digging thru fruits of hack. Just like Russia wanted,” he wrote on Twitter.
Indeed, here are eight more e-mail exchanges that shed light on the methods and mindset of Clinton’s allies in Brooklyn and Washington.