Better late than never, Julian Assange has made good on his promise to release further email leaks involving US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Released last night, the documents allegedly contain excerpts from lucrative paid speeches she made to Wall Street firms.
The excerpts are found in an email from Tony Carrk, the research director of the Clinton campaign, to John Podesta, the campaign chairman. As part of an internal review of Clinton’s speeches, the men identified sections of the speeches that might prove politically problematic. WikiLeaks has added headers like “CLINTON SUGGESTS WALL STREET INSIDERS ARE WHAT IS NEEDED TO FIX WALL STREET” and “CLINTON REMARKS ARE PRO KEYSTONE AND PRO TRADE.”
Indeed, Clinton comes off as far more pro-Wall Street and chummy with the assembled elite than she did during the Democratic primary when she had to face off against the more populist policies of Bernie Sanders. “[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,” Clinton said.
According to the New York Times:
In the excerpts from her paid speeches to financial institutions and corporate audiences, Mrs. Clinton said she dreamed of “open trade and open borders” throughout the Western Hemisphere. Citing the back-room deal-making and arm-twisting used by Abraham Lincoln, she mused on the necessity of having “both a public and a private position” on politically contentious issues. Reflecting in 2014 on the rage against political and economic elites that swept the country after the 2008 financial crash, Mrs. Clinton acknowledged that her family’s rising wealth had made her “kind of far removed” from the struggles of the middle class.
“If everybody’s watching, you know, all of the backroom discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least,” Clinton elaborated when discussing the need for separate positions out of the public eye.
Some comments about trade could be construed as demonstrating that Clinton is comfortable with the kind of free trade policy and market regulation that her opponent supports. Regarding the revolving door that exists between Wall Street and the Federal Trade Commission she said, “The people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.”
The Clinton campaign has not confirmed the documents’ authenticity but a spokesperson, Glen Caplin, released a statement that according to the Times, “pointed to the United States government’s findings that Russian officials had used WikiLeaks to hack documents in order to sway the outcome of the presidential election.” The campaign has not officially denied that the documents are real.
While there seems to be very little information in the leak that would satisfy anyone looking for evidence of corruption, the excerpts will certainly not help the candidate with voters who feel that she is too close to Wall Street. She has earned more than $US22 ($29) million dollars giving speeches since she resigned as US Secretary of State.
One quote from the leak could actually be beneficial for her among progressive voters. “If you look at the single-payer systems, like Scandinavia, Canada, and elsewhere, they can get costs down because, you know, although their care, according to statistics, overall is as good or better on primary care,” she said at a speech in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 2013.
She admitted that “they do impose things like waiting times, you know.” Publicly, Clinton has said that single-payer healthcare will “never, ever” happen in the United States and such a system is not part of her platform.
Meanwhile, Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump, is under fire for a leaked tape in which he suggested a great technique for getting women is to “Grab them by the pussy” and “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” Late last night, Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee used Facebook live to beg Trump to step down as the Republican nominee.