WikiLeaks releases what appear to be Clinton’s paid Wall Street speeches

The WikiLeaks emails appear to show Clinton enjoying warm relations with Wall Street and admitting she is ‘far removed’ from ordinary citizens


Speeches given by Hillary Clinton to major Wall Street banks including Goldman Sachs, long kept under wraps, have apparently been released by WikiLeaks.

The lucrative speeches were a recurring theme in the Democratic primary campaign; accused of being the pro-Wall Street establishment candidate, Clinton faced calls from rival Bernie Sanders to make them public.

The speech excerpts came to light on Friday when WikiLeaks published thousands of what it claimed were hacked emails from her campaign chairman, John Podesta. The campaign refused to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents.

On Friday the US government formally named the Russian government as responsible for recent hacks intended to interfere with the US presidential election.

Glen Caplin, Clinton campaign national spokesman, said: “We are not going to confirm the authenticity of stolen documents released by Julian Assange [of WikiLeaks] 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.”

If genuine, the WikiLeaks emails appear to show Clinton enjoying warm relations with Wall Street and admitting she is “far removed” from ordinary citizens.

In a speech to the Goldman Sachs Builders And Innovators Summit in October 2013, Clinton apparently complained of “a bias” against successful people in Washington that stops them retaining their wealth.

“Well, you know what Bob Rubin said about that,” she is quoted as saying. “He said, you know, when he came to Washington, he had a fortune. And when he left Washington, he had a small …”

A man called Mr Blanfein interjected: “That’s how you have a small fortune, is you go to Washington.”

Clinton resumed: “You go to Washington. Right. But, you know, part of the problem with the political situation, too, is that there is such a bias against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives. You know, the divestment of assets, the stripping of all kinds of positions, the sale of stocks. It just becomes very onerous and unnecessary.”

At the same event, Clinton appears to have discussed the 2008 financial crisis. I think that there’s a lot that could have been avoided in terms of both misunderstanding and really politicizing what happened with greater transparency, with greater openness on all sides, you know, what happened, how did it happen, how do we prevent it from happening?”

The former senator and secretary of state added: “The people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry” – a comment that might have been seized on by Sanders, who was demanding that Wall Street not be given a free hand to self-regulate.

After leaving office as secretary of state in 2013, Clinton embarked on a career speaking to banks, securities firms and other financial institutions. Tax returns show that her minimum fee was $225,000 per speech.

In remarks to Banco Itaú, she allegedly spoke in favor of trade in a tone very different from her current opposition to Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership. “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.

“Secondly, I think we have to have a concerted plan to increase trade already under the current circumstances, you know, that Inter-American Development Bank figure is pretty surprising. There is so much more we can do, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit but businesses on both sides have to make it a priority and it’s not for governments to do but governments can either make it easy or make it hard and we have to resist, protectionism, other kinds of barriers to market access and to trade”

The excerpts were revealed in a January 2016 email from Tony Carrk, research director of the Clinton campaign, to Podesta and other senior campaign officials, highlighting politically sensitive sections.

In an address to Goldman Sachs/BlackRock in April 2014, Clinton allegedly said: “I am not taking a position on any policy, but I do think there is a growing sense of anxiety and even anger in the country over the feeling that the game is rigged. And I never had that feeling when I was growing up. Never. I mean, were there really rich people, of course there were. 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 healthcare. 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. 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.”

Clinton had previously faced calls from rival Bernie Sanders to make the speeches public.
Clinton had previously faced calls from rival Bernie Sanders to make the speeches public. Photograph: Melanie Maxwell/AP

In a speech to the National Multi-Housing Council in April 2013, she admitted a need for a private and public position on policy. “Politics is like sausage being made,” she said. “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.”

And in a speech for General Electric’s global leadership meeting in Boca Raton, Florida, in January 2014, Clinton acknowledged that anyone who runs for president must raise vast sums of money. “I would like it not to be so expensive,” she said. “I have no idea how you do that.

“I mean, in my campaign – I lose track, but I think I raised $250m or some such enormous amount, and in the last campaign President Obama raised 1.1bn, and that was before the Super Pacs and all of this other money just rushing in, and it’s so ridiculous that we have this kind of free-for-all with all of this financial interest at stake, but, you know, the supreme court said that’s basically what we’re in for.


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