For months, Donald Trump has pushed Hillary Clinton to release the transcripts of her paid speeches, given to the likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley after she concluded her term as secretary of state. During the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders demanded the same thing. Clinton, so far, has demurred.
She may no longer have a choice. In a voluminous data dump released by the hacker group Wikileaks, centered around emails from Clinton adviser John Podesta’s private account, at least one email appears to detail statements made by Clinton during private speeches that could be of concern to the campaign. The excerpts were first noticed by BuzzFeed News.
The memo was prepared by “HWA”—presumably the Harry Walker Agency, which represented Clinton—and sent by Tony Carrk, the Clinton campaign’s research director. Sent January 25, it breaks down more than 80 pages of Clinton quotes, categorizing them by topic and potential liability, including “Benghazi,” “Wall Street” and, simply, “Awkward.” In one speech, Clinton is quoted as saying that politicians need to have a “public” and “private” position on issues in order to get things done. From the 2013 speech made to the National Multi-Housing Council:
I mean, politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. 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.
On another occasion, she expressed her desire to build a “hemispheric common market,” with “open borders.” It appears she made these statements in 2013 to Banco Itaú, a Brazilian bank that is now the largest financial conglomerate in the southern hemisphere. “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere,” she said, according to the memo.
Clinton has taken hits from Trump for her support of NAFTA and global trade pacts, and the Republican has already painted her as being too soft on immigration; talk of “open borders” won’t make that any better. On her campaign website, Clinton promises to “protect our borders and national security,” but she’s said before the border is already secure and that immigration reform should be the foremost priority.
In a January 2015 speech, Clinton also expressed her long-term desire for universal healthcare coverage “like you see in Canada.” This portion of the remarks were highlighted in yellow:
We’re really just at the beginning. But we do have Medicare for people over 65. And you couldn’t, I don't think, take it away if you tried, because people are very satisfied with it, but we also have a lot of political and financial resistance to expanding that system to more people. So we’re in a learning period as we move forward with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And I’m hoping that whatever the shortfalls or the glitches have been, which in a big piece of legislation you’re going to have, those will be remedied and we can really take a hard look at what’s succeeding, fix what isn’t, and keep moving forward to get to affordable universal healthcare coverage like you have here in Canada.
On section of the memo, titled “Praising Wall Street,” listed statements from Clinton lauding the financial sector. Among the praised parties: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity, and Ameriprise. “Many of you in this room are masters of the trend lines,” she said in 2013, during the Goldman Sachs Builders And Innovators Summit. “You see over the horizon, you think about products that nobody has invented, and you go about the business of trying to do that.”
In discussing financial regulation, Clinton also said that “the people who know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.”
There’s nothing magic about regulations, too much is bad, too little is bad. How do you get to the golden key, how do we figure out what works? And the people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.
Another snippet from 2013 captures a back-and-forth between a Goldman Sachs executive and Clinton, where he thanks the former secretary of state for not turning her back on Wall Street.
MR. O'NEILL: By the way, we really did appreciate when you were the senator from New York and your continued involvement in the issues (inaudible) to be courageous in some respects to associated with Wall Street and this environment. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don't feel particularly courageous. I mean, if we're going to be an effective, efficient economy, we need to have all part of that engine running well, and that includes Wall Street and Main Street.
The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request to authenticate the documents. The memo was sent to Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, Kristina Schake, the deputy communications director, and Podesta, among others.