Saturday, October 08, 2016

Wikileaks Releases What Appear to Be Excerpts of Clinton's Paid Speeches
Cooper Allen and Heidi M Przybyla
10:44 p.m. EDT October 7, 2016

The latest Wikileaks release seemed to include transcribed excerpts of some of Hillary Clinton's paid speeches that the campaign had flagged for internal review, BuzzFeed reported late Friday.

The release, which was comprised of hacked emails from the account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, includes a note to Podesta and other staffers from research director Tony Carrk and describes "the flags from HRC’s paid speeches we have from HWA" — an apparent reference to the Harry Walker Agency, which helped arrange Clinton's speaking engagements after she left the State Department.

Clinton's paid speeches, many to Wall Street firms, came up repeatedly during her Democratic primary campaign against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who challenged Clinton to release the transcripts.

USA TODAY could not independently verify the authenticity of the email or the excerpts and the Clinton campaign would not vouch for them either.

The release came on the same day the Obama administration officially assigned blame to Russia for hacking the Democratic National Committee and other party officials in an effort to influence the presidential election.

“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," said Clinton spokesman Glen Caplin. "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," said Caplin.

In a series of tweets Friday night, Podesta wrote that he didn't "have time to figure out which docs are real and which are faked."

The campaign also noted an earlier tweet from Wikileaks promoting the release that falsely claimed Podesta is a co-owner of the Podesta Group, a Washington lobbying firm run by his brother, Tony.

The Carrk email, which is dated Jan. 25, 2016, according to the Wikileaks release, includes several "flags" for campaign officials to consider, such as one speech in February 2014 where Clinton acknowledges she is "far removed" from the middle-class lifestyle she grew up with.

"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. 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 also discusses trade in one speech, a significant issue in both her primary campaign and in her battle with Trump, and expresses her "dream" of a "hemispheric common market."

“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.”

If authentic, this excerpt may prove most problematic for Clinton, who has fought the perception that she is privately supportive of the same free trade agreements that Trump has maligned and that are deeply unpopular throughout battleground states in the industrial Midwest. It could also feed into Republican charges that the Democratic Party is supportive of looser U.S. borders.

In a statement, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said: "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."

"The truth that has been exposed here is that the persona Hillary Clinton has adopted for her campaign is a complete and utter fraud," Priebus added.

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